Tolkien talks in May 2022 & reminders for July

Two events for this month will feature online presentations on Tolkien. The first is a free event to be held on Saturday May 7th, the Tolkien at Kalamazoo Symposium. A program and link have not yet been published, but I will post it here as soon as the information is available. [May 4 edit: the pdf program is posted here. If you’re interested in attending, contact Yvette Kisor at]

Next week, the International Congress on Medieval Studies will take place online once again this year. There is a registration fee for this one, which gives you access to papers and various kinds of sessions and book sales as well as recordings of most sessions for two weeks after the conference. You can find more information here. The Congress takes place May 9-14.

And please scroll down for reminders about July’s conference events. You’ll have to register this week for the Leeds medieval conference if you intend to take part!

Below are the sessions on Tolkien taking place at the International Congress on Medieval Studies from the University of Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. An asterisk by the session number indicates that the session will be recorded.

121* Tuesday, May 10, 5:00 p.m. EDT
Medieval Understandings of the Nature of Evil as Depicted by J. R. R. Tolkien

Sponsor: D. B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, Viterbo Univ. Organizer & Presider: Michael A. Wodzak, Viterbo Univ.

  • Cosmic Catastrophe of History: Augustinian Theology of History and Patristic Angelology in Tolkien’s “Long Defeat” — Edmund Michael Lazzari, Marquette Univ.
  • Dante’s Paradiso and the Fall of Melkor: Tolkien’s Preoccupations with Culpability and Purgation — Michael David Elam, Regent Univ.
  • A Clamorous Unison: Musical Evil in the Middle Ages and the Ainulindalë –Joshua T. Parks, Princeton Theological Seminary

226* Thursday, May 12, 9:00 a.m. EDT
Tolkien and the Medieval Animal

Sponsor: Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, Univ. of Glasgow
Organizer & Presider: Kristine A. Swank, Univ. of Glasgow

  • Mammoth, Mûmak, and “ The old fireside rhyme of Oliphaunt”: Tolkien’s Contributions to the Medieval Bestiary Tradition — Marc U. Zender, Tulane Univ.
  • From Classical to Medieval: A Reflection on Bats in Tolkien’s Works — Fiammetta Comelli, Univ. degli Studi di Milano
  • Of Foxes and Dancing Bears — John Rosegrant, New Orleans-Birmingham Psychoanalytic Center
  • Tolkien’s Dragons: Sources, Symbols, and Significance — Camilo G. Peralta, Fort Hays State Univ.

275* Thursday, May 12, 7:00 p.m. EDT
J. R. R. Tolkien and Medieval Poets: A Session in Memory of Richard C. West

Sponsors: Tolkien at Kalamazoo; Pearl-Poet Society. Organizer: Christopher Vaccaro, Univ. of Vermont. Presider: Jane Beal, Univ. of La Verne

  • Tolkien and Dante on the Musical Nature of “Sub-creation” — Paul L. Fortunato, Univ. of Houston–Downtown
  • The Lost Roads of Old English Poetry: Dramas of Time Travel in Tolkien’s Works — Anna Smol, Mount St. Vincent Univ.
  • Strange Sounds, Strange Scenes: Alliterative Metre and Personification in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “ The Lay of the Children of Húrin” — Gavin Foster, Dalhousie Univ.
  • Tolkien, Beowulf, and Gawain: The Myth of Alliteration — John R. Holmes, Franciscan Univ. of Steubenville

360 Friday, May 13, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Medieval Tolkien and the Nature of Middle-earth (A Roundtable)

Sponsor: Tolkien at Kalamazoo. Organizer: Yvette Kisor, Ramapo College. Presider: Deidre Dawson, Michigan State Univ.

A roundtable discussion with Edward L. Risden, St. Norbert College; Sutirtho Roy, Univ. of Calcutta; Christopher Vaccaro, Univ. of Vermont; Yvette Kisor; John D. Rateliff, Independent Scholar

421* Saturday, May 14, 5:00 p.m. EDT
New Readings of the Lord of the Rings
Presider: Luke J. Chambers, Indiana Univ.–Bloomington

  • The Fisherman’s Ring of Power: Masculinity, Castration, and the Great Quest in The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings — Consuelo M. Concepcion, Independent Scholar
  • The Dragon is Not an Allegory: Reading Tolkien’s Monsters in Medieval Contexts — Ruthann E. Mowry, Univ. of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign; Cait Coker, Univ. of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
  • Samwise: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Practical Boethian — Brian McFadden, Texas Tech Univ.
  • Tolkien, Augustinian Theodicy, and Lovecraftian Evil — Perry Neil Harrison, Fort Hays State Univ.

A couple of Tolkien papers will appear in more general sessions:

394* Saturday, May 14, 3:00 p.m. EDT
C. S. Lewis and the Middle Ages I: Dante and the Lewis Circle (In Honor of Marsha Daigle Williamson)

  • Heavenly Models of Desire in Dante, Lewis, and Tolkien — Curtis Gruenler, Hope College [paper withdrawn – May 4 edit]

418* Saturday, May 14, 5:00 p.m. EDT
Medievalism in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literary and Cinematic Adaptations of Beowulf

  • The Existential Dragon: Adapting Beowulf in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and John Gardner’s Grendel — Andrew Phillip de Carion, Univ. of Houston

Of course, if you have an interest in medieval or medievalism studies, there are hundreds of other sessions to choose from.

Kalamazoo campus swan pond

And looking ahead…..

The Tolkien Society will be holding its Seminar on July 3 with the theme of Tolkien and the Gothic. This is a hybrid event. Registration is now open for free online or in-person attendance (limited to 60 people in person).

The International Medieval Congress at Leeds University will host 7 Tolkien sessions in the program. The conference takes place July 4-7, 2022. This is a hybrid event, enabling online or in-person attendance. Deadline for registration is Friday May 6. As with the other large medieval conference from the University of Western Michigan, there is a fee for registration.

I’ll post the July programs closer to the time of these events.

7 responses to “Tolkien talks in May 2022 & reminders for July”

  1. helpful info, especially the grouping of Tolkien events/papers/etc. for the entire summer (or nearly). Thanks Anna.


    • I should have mentioned that Curtis Gruenler’s paper has been withdrawn from the CSLewis and the Middle Ages: Dante session. Still lots of good, but . . . no Curtis.


      • Are you headed to Mythcon Anna? Albuquerque is just so far from PEI (or Nova Scotia). I wish I was live in K’zoo and Congress this week, but the online access worked fine for one set of meetings. I will miss your talk on Thursday and the very cool Glasgow panel hosted by Kris Swank that day. Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Brenton, I’m not going to Albuquerque. I’m sticking to home base as the pandemic’s continuing death counts have forced me to consider the risk. I’ll be missing the Leeds conference too, one of my favourites, but I’m glad that we can at least have online access at Mythcon and Leeds and Kalamazoo. But I also miss those in-person meetings. Hopefully, next year travel and hanging around in large groups will be safer! By the way, if you’re ever in Halifax, let me know. Tea in the backyard or drinks
          on a patio is always a possibility. I feel like we’re neighbours, and it would be nice to say hi in person.

          Liked by 2 people

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