Tolkien Calls for Papers – upcoming deadlines

The two largest medieval conferences — in Kalamazoo and in Leeds — have upcoming deadlines for paper proposals. There are plenty of sessions for those involved in Tolkien studies. The International Conference on Medieval Studies has pre-approved sessions looking for participants. The International Medieval Congress in Leeds works differently; the organizer, Dr. Dimitra Fimi, has to submit abstracts for each proposed session and wait for approval.

Deadline August 31: ICM Leeds 2019

100-word proposals are due for the following sessions. See the organizer Dr. Dimitra Fimi’s blog for more details.

  1. “New” Tolkien: Expanding the Canon
  2. Materiality in Tolkien’s Medievalism I
  3. Materiality in Tolkien’s Medievalism II
  4. Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches I
  5. Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches II
  6. New Voices and New Topics in Tolkien Scholarship (a roundtable)

The IMC takes place July 1-4, 2019 at the University of Leeds.

Deadline: September 1: ICMS in Kalamazoo

There are a number of options for Tolkien scholars in Kalamazoo. Dr. Chris Vaccaro and Dr. Yvette Kisor have volunteered to take over the organization of  the Tolkien at Kalamazoo group, previously led by Dr. Brad Eden for several years.  In addition to the three approved sessions sponsored by Tolkien at Kalamazoo, there are several other independent sessions, as well as a couple of sessions sponsored by the Tales After Tolkien Society.

A convenient round-up of all of these panels can be found on Luke Shelton’s blog.

Tolkien at Kalamazoo sponsored sessions: abstracts to Chris Vaccaro <>  or Yvette Kisor  <>.

  1. Tolkien and Medieval Constructions of Race: Paper session.

The question of Tolkien’s engagement in and use of medieval constructions of race represents a timely question, perhaps unfortunately so. Whether we consider the hierarchical structure of the created races of Middle-earth, the linguistic and cultural similarities between Dwarves and Jews, or his granting of eastern or African features to specific races such as the Easterlings or the Haradrim, we find Tolkien working with medieval constructions of race, such as the notion of the Saracen. This paper session invites considerations of Tolkien and medieval constructions of race.

  1. Tolkien and Temporality:  Medieval Constructions of Time:  Paper session.

Given the presence of both immortal Elves and mortal Men in Middle-earth, time is experienced and represented in multiple ways. The timeline of history is expressed as consecutive ages tracing the emerging and residual dominance of two peoples, Elves and Men. This timeline of Arda moves from a creation to a final end, and in this teleological conception, medieval notions of time and history, particularly Christian notions, can be seen. This paper session encourages explorations of how medieval constructions of time enter Tolkien’s legendarium.

  1. Misappropriation of Tolkien’s Medievalism:  Roundtable/panel session

Many white supremacists love Tolkien. An uncomfortable statement, and certainly not the whole truth, but the reality is that self-identified white nationalists have embraced and appropriated aspects of Tolkien’s medievalism since the late 1930s. In many cases, these are misunderstood aspects, and such individuals are embracing a Middle Ages that never existed, but in the created world of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, it is more complicated. It is often the medieval-derived aspects of Tolkien’s creation that are most appealing to such groups and individuals. This roundtable invites participants to consider the misappropriation of Tolkien’s medievalism, from how and why it happens, to what aspects of Tolkien’s work seem to attract this and why, and finally how to respond to it.

More Tolkien sessions:

4.  The Medieval Roots of Tolkien’s Fall of Gondolin. Organized by Bill Fliss, Marquette University. Proposals to

The upcoming publication of Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin (August 2018) makes available what Tolkien called “the first real story of this imagined world” (Letter 163), the story of the fall of a great hidden Elven kingdom that occupied Tolkien throughout his life. It forms the basis for much of his early legendarium of Middle-earth and incorporates many aspects of medieval themes and topics. This paper session invites considerations of the medieval roots of Tolkien’s tale.

5. Tolkien’s Legendarium and Medieval Cosmology. Organizer: Judy Ford, Texas A&M Commerce.  Abstracts to

6.  Medieval Song, Verse and Versification in Tolkien’s Works. Organizer: Annie Brust. Abstracts to

Tales After Tolkien Society

Two sessions, including The Legacy of Tolkien’s Medievalism in Contemporary Works. See Luke Shelton’s blog  or the Tales After Tolkien Society blog for more details.

The ICMS takes place May 9- 12, 2019.  Submission procedures and forms can be found here.




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