Friday, February 5, 2010

If you’re planning a visit to the ’Zoo

The schedule for the Forty-fifth International Congress on Medieval Studies, also known simply as Kalamazoo, has been published. The conference runs May 13–16, 2010 at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. One of the event’s innumerable sponsors is Tolkien at Kalamazoo, which is running seven sessions this year. I won’t be attending Kalamazoo myself, but as a public service, here’s what those who do can look forward to (for dates and times, you can refer to the full published schedule):

Four paper sessions:


  • Elvencentrism: “Elven Nature Preserves” in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ann Martinez, U. of Kansas
  • “Worlds on Worlds”: Tolkien, Lewis, and the Medieval and Modern Theological Implications of Extraterrestrial Life, Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State U.
  • Inside Literature: Tolkien’s Explorations of Medieval Genres, John D. Rateliff, Independent Scholar
  • J.R.R. Tolkien and The Battle of Maldon: An Example of “Freer” Verse?, Stuart D. Lee, U. of Oxford

  • Neues Testament und Märchen: Tolkien, Fairy Stories, and the Gospels, John William Houghton, Hill School
  • “Justice is not healing”: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Pauline Constructs in “Finwë and Míriel”, Amelia A. Rutledge, George Mason U.
  • Tolkien on the Old English Pater Noster: Digging Niggling Calligraphy, John R. Holmes, Franciscan U. of Steubenville
  • The Lord of the Fish: Tolkien and the Book of Jonah, Michael Foster, Independent Scholar

  • Tolkien as Pearl Maiden: Exhortation as Parable, David Thomson, Baylor U.
  • Casting Away Treasures: Tolkien’s Use of The Pearl in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Leigh Smith, East Stroudsburg U.
  • The Pearl and The Jewels: Beren and Luthien [sic] and The Pearl, Janice M. Bogstad, U. of Wisconsin–Eau Claire

  • To Be or Not to Be? The Enigma of the Balrog in Tolkien’s Mythology, Bradford Lee Eden, U. of California–Santa Barbara
  • Tolkien’s Ramblin’ Men, Peter Grybauskas, U. of Maryland
  • “It is enough to make the dead rise out of their graves!”: Tolkien, Oliphant, and Gendered Conventions of the Supernatural, Sharin Schroeder, U. of Minnesota–Twin Cities
Two roundtables:

A roundtable discussion with Jennifer Culver, U. of Texas–Dallas; Deborah Sabo, U. of Arkansas–Fayetteville; John D. Rateliff, Independent Scholar; Corey Olsen, Washington College; Janice M. Bogstad, U. of Wisconsin–Eau Claire; and Merlin DeTardo, Independent Scholar. Presider: Douglas A. Anderson, Independent Scholar.

A roundtable discussion with Victoria Wodzak, Viterbo U.; Michael Foster, Independent Scholar; Jon Porter, Butler University; Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State U.; Corey Olsen, Washington College; and Benjamin S. W. Barootes, McGill U. Presider: Judy Ann Ford, Texas A&M U.–Commerce.

And another session (as usual at Kalamazoo) just for fun:

  • Readings from Sigurd and Gudrun [sic], Yvette Kisor, Jennifer Culver, and Bradford Lee Eden
  • “The Road Goes Ever On” by Donald Swann, Eileen Marie Moore
  • The Lord of the Ringos, Michael Foster and Amy Amendt-Raduege
In addition to papers to be delivered under the impresa of Tolkien at Kalamazoo, a quick search of the full schedule turned up a few more papers and sessions of interest, to wit:

  • Jeff Smith’s “Bone”: Revising Tolkien and Lewis’s Antimodernist Fantasies, Andrew Taylor, Western Michigan U.
  • Landscapes of Lord of the Rings Online, Ryan T. Harper, U. of Rochester
  • Middle-Earth [sic] and the Waste Land: Greenwood, Apocalypse, and Post-War Resolution, Edward L. Risden, St. Norbert College
Plus an entire session of papers presented by students from the NEH Summer Institute on Tolkien conducted at Texas A&M–Commerce last summer. The session is being run by Judy Ann Ford, one of the Institute’s two co-directors (and the other co-director, Robin Anne Reid, is in charge of Tolkien at Kalamazoo). I was particularly pleased to see this session, as I was one of the guest instructors at the Institute. I wrote a little bit about the Institute here (see the penultimate paragraph). It’s very nice to see the Institute bearing fruit.

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