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The Online Conference Project
2023-2024 Hybrid and Virtual Conferences (Updated October 14, 2023)
Introduction & Overview
After seeing outstanding presentations at the 2021-22 Virtual PCA conferences by a significant number of Tolkien scholars who had never been able to attend the f2f PCA in the past, and who will not be able to attend future f2f PCA conferences because of the various barriers, I started the Online Conference Project.
My goal is to collect and share information about conferences that are either hybrid (meaning allowing for both virtual and in-person presentations and attendance) or virtual (meaning completely online), especially those of interest to those of us working in Tolkien studies and fantasy/speculative fiction studies generally.1
Last year, I sent the information out to an email list: this year, I am combining that email list with my other emails lists relating to Tolkien scholarship and will be sending out a link to this Newsletter to everyone on the list this year and in the future. This will include some people who subscribe to the Substack: if you wish to be taken off my email list (for any reason), please let me know!
You are also welcome to share the link to this information on your social media.
The listed conferences are ones I know about, or ones friends have recommended to me. If you know about other hybrid and virtual conferences that would welcome Tolkien scholarship (either this year, or in future), please let me know. I plan to update the list as needed.
Please note I cannot guarantee acceptance for *any* conference except for the Tolkien Studies Area at the Popular Culture Association (PCA) which I currently run. If you have not submitted to a conference before and would like some advice/feedback, feel free to email me at robinareid AT fastmail.com
In the list below, I provide basic information: conference name/theme, organization or institution organizing it; proposal submission deadline; delivery mode (hybrid, meaning an online track added to a f2f conference; or virtual, meaning entirely online); registration fee (if available); dates of conference.
Please follow the links to the conference sites to confirm the information. While I have proofread as much as time allows, there are likely still errors (probably related to numbers!) for which I welcome correction.
This list includes Tolkien-specific conferences as well as more general ones that would be open to scholarship on Tolkien from specific theoretical or methodological approaches. Attending a Tolkien-specific conference means that you will be part of a group with a specific focus while attending the general ones may mean you are the only one, or one of a few, presenting on Tolkien. It also means that you may hear work on other topics and may discover others interested in Tolkien who had not thought of doing scholarship on that topic!
The list is organized, first by submission deadline; then by delivery mode, then by date of conference. At the end, I list conferences that are no longer open for submissions but are still open for attendees to register.
I include information on presentations that I know have been accepted for conferences (because I was involved in submitting them), but if you are presenting at a conference and would like me to add that information, please let me know (email robinareid AT fastmail.com).
OPEN FOR PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS
Organized chronologically by submission dates.
November 30, 2023 (Virtual)
Something Mighty Queer: Mythopoeic Society’s Online Midwinter Seminar 2024
17th–18th February 2024
We invite submissions for an online conference that focuses on queerness in fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction or other mythopoeic work. This can be queer representation within the work or engaging with mythopoeia through queer theory. “Queerness” is an intentionally ambiguous term, demonstrating the diversity of queer experiences, and the necessity of situating queerness as a liminal, complex paradigm. Queer theory is wider than the study of gender identity or sexuality, extending to taking positions against normativity and dominant modes of thought, and engaging with the indefinite.
Aspects of this topic might include but are certainly not limited to any of the following:
Otherness, stranger/outsider, the uncanny, marginalization and oppression, liminality and liminal spaces, depictions of queer people, thresholds, trans theory, gender performativity, readings and research that challenge normative or hegemonic perspectives.
Papers, panels, and roundtables from a variety of critical perspectives and disciplines are welcome. We are interested in ANY form of media — text, graphic novels, comics, television, movies, music and music videos, games — as long as it can be described as fantasy or otherwise mythopoeic.
Each presentation will receive a 50-minute slot to allow time for questions, but individual presentations should be timed for oral presentation in 40 minutes maximum. Two or three presenters who wish to present short, related papers may also share one 50-minute slot.
Submission Deadline: November 30, 2023
Proposals (~200 words) with bios (150 words, maximum) should be sent to:
Working bibliographies are welcome, but not required.
January 15, 2024 (Hybrid), Tolkien at UVM 2024!
The Psychologies of Middle-earth
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05401
Saturday, April 13, 2024 (8:30-5:30)
This is our 20th annual conference. The theme is The Psychologies of Middle-earth. We are excited to have Dr Sara Brown as our keynote!
Please submit abstracts (150 words) to Dr. Chris Vaccaro (at email@example.com) by the deadline of January 15th 2024. The registration fee is $25 and covers breakfast and lunch and helps to pay for our tech support for the virtual modality.
Abstracts can cover various applications of psychology including myth, religion, art, sexuality, world building, race and ethnicity, feminism, queer theory, class consciousness, ideology, PTSD, trauma, desire, disability, and much more.
Multiple Deadlines, Multiple Locations, Most Welcome Online Submissions
Signum University runs a Mythmoot: Annual Speculative Literature Conference. The 2024 conference will run June 20, 21, 22, 23, 2024, and welcomes online participants. More information will be posted in early 2024.
There are also a number of Regional Moots scheduled throughout the year: please click on the link to see the information (and whether or not online submissions are welcome) for the various Moots.
SUBMISSIONS CLOSED BUT YOU CAN STILL REGISTER TO ATTEND
Organized chronologically by conference (not submission) dates.
October 27-29, 2023 Hybrid
The Visualisation of Tolkien’s Work. The 19th Seminar of the German Tolkien Society, supported by the Walking Tree Press, Publishers, will take place at the Seminar for English Philology at the Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany.
May 9-11, 2024, Hybrid
International Congress of Medieval Studies
The Tolkien At Kalamazoo area is sponsoring five sessions:
Tolkien's Leeds Legacy: A Reconsideration of His Work as a Medievalist (In-person)
Tolkien and "The Battle of Maldon" (In-person)
Tolkien’s Problematic Medievalisms, A Roundtable (In-person)
Flora, Fauna & Fantasy: Medieval Poets and J.R.R. Tolkien, co-sponsored with the Pearl Poet Society. (Virtual)
Here Be Dragons: Tolkien at the Medieval Margins (co-sponsored with Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, University of Glasgow: Virtual)
Tolkien and Disability (co-sponsored with Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages: Virtual)
Registration closes April 25, 2024
November 5th-11th, 2023, 2023 Virtual
They also have creative sessions as well as academic ones which is awesome!
November 26, 2023 Online, Free
The Tolkien Society and the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic is offering a seminar on the topic of “Secondary Believers, Secondary Worlds: Tolkien and Religion in the Twenty-First Century.”
I admit my personal preference is for the entirely virtual because in my experience, the virtual attendees at hybrid conferences tend to be given less access to the full f2f sessions, experiences, and opportunities. Of course, what access virtual attendees have depends entirely on the conference: I am learning that “hybrid” can mean many things, often depending on the size of the conference. In any case, I will continue to list both modes of conferencing!