June 1, 2016 by Anthony Burdge
We have ended the Call for programming for the 2016 New York Tolkien Conference. Our Conference Programs section has a wide range of fascinating and brilliant topics for all attendees to attend and participate in. There are a few returning presenters and new speakers to our roster.
The programs featured are not all to encompass our day, we will be adding 2-3 more programs to round it out, i.e. discussion panels to incorporate our presenters and attendees. We want to include everyone attending in these programs and have encouraged our presenters to discuss their topics with attendees in the audience, if attendees wish to do so.
Below are two examples of our expanding program but you can read more in our Conference Programs Section
We are very excited to bring to New York the 2nd of an annual Tolkien Conference and most importantly our Fellowship!
Middle-earth Genealogical Patterns with focus on Hobbits and Elves (Temporary Title)
Presented by Laurel Michalek and Kaleena Ma
Genealogies are to characters what etymology is to language, and we all know how much Tolkien loved languages. Tolkien was a philologist, a scholar of the detailed history of languages. He paid great attention to words and their history and meaning. Therefore, he extended his love for languages to the importance of showing the detailed genealogies of all races of Middle-earth. In this talk, we are going to focus on two races in particular: hobbits and elves.
Details of a third cousin twice removed usually are not the focus of modern family trees, but these relatives are important to Hobbits. Their family trees are large, extremely detailed and considered highly important. Any respectable hobbit will know his second cousin twice removed. But why? Why does this jovial race focus so much on relationships between families and persons?
Another race with interesting genealogical patterns is the Elves. As immortal beings with progressively fewer children some of the family trees are extremely small, whereas other (such as Fëanor’s) are quite a bit larger. Despite the startling difference in size lineage, it was still considered important among the elves, but it is addressed very very differently, and as such there are different questions to ask of the elven genealogies. Do family trees differ between the Noldor, Teleri and Vanyar? How did relations change between Ages and why?
Where did Tolkien get the ideas for these family trees? Why emphasize the differences in the focus of genealogies between races? What do his writings (both fiction, commentaries, and personal letters) reveal about his genealogies, whether it be naming traditions or lineal emphasis? In this discussion panel we hope to address these questions and more, and hear what others have to say in regards to Tolkien’s created genealogies.
The Borders of the (Fictional) World:
Fan Fiction Archives, Ideological Approaches, and Fan Identity
Presented By Dawn M. Walls-Thumma and Janet McCullough John
The Tolkien fandom has always been characterized, in part, by contention over the correct way to interpret Tolkien’s texts. His books simultaneously appeal to fans who connect with his conservative, Catholic worldview and fans who use the legendarium to advance progressive causes such an environmentalism and feminism. In the fan fiction community, where fans not only interpret his work but build upon his world, this conflict becomes especially pronounced.
The Tolkien fan fiction community hosts its stories on Internet archives dedicated solely to Tolkien-based fan fiction, multifandom archives, and social networking sites such as LiveJournal and Tumblr. This paper will make the case that these various archives often evidence the fragmentation of ideology and interpretative approaches that has always typified the Tolkien fandom. Archives develop cultures independent of the Tolkien fan fiction community as a whole; for example, archives may differ in the importance they ascribe to Tolkien’s moral and religious beliefs, the willingness of their members to use fan fiction as a form of criticism, and their members’ openness to using fan fiction to comment on modern issues of social justice.
Using the results of Dawn Walls-Thumma’s 2015 Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey, we will explore the cultural and demographic differences between Tolkien fan fiction archives. We will investigate the historical context within the fandom that explains the conventions and ideologies that have arisen on various archives. Finally, we will look at the kinds of fan fiction that typify the major archives, the characters and topics explored, and the authors’ motives for writing.