Tolkien and the Medieval Animal

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Kris Swank, Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, University of Glasgow

"Tolkien and the Medieval Animal"

Call for Paper proposals for a session at the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo) to be held live on the internet, Monday through Saturday, May 9-14, 2022

The emerging field of “animal studies” shifts critical thought away from an assumption of human supremacy and instead explores the web of interdependence that enmeshes humans with all other forms of life. As Anna Tsing puts it, “Human nature is an interspecies relationship.” But these conceptions are not new. Susan Crane writes, “The people of medieval Britain lived in daily contact with domestic and wild animals. Forest and wasteland loomed over settlements, and even city streets teemed with all kinds of creatures.”

The medieval animal is explored in a number of recent monographs, e.g. Animals in the Middle Ages by Nona C. Flores (2000), The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed., by Joyce E. Salisbury (2010), Animal Encounters: Contacts and Concepts in Medieval Britain by Susan Crane (2012), Medieval Pets by Kathleen Walker-Meikle (2021), among others.

Animals mattered to J.R.R. Tolkien, too, and his writings frequently engage with medieval conceptions of the interspecies relationships between humans and non-human animals. A few examples include Farmer Giles and his dog, Garm, Gandalf and Shadowfax, and bestiary animals Fastitocalon, the Oliphaunt, and dragons. Lists of animals found in Middle-earth are available online, for instance @ http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Category:Animals or https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_animals

We welcome proposals for this paper session on “Tolkien and the Medieval Animal.” Interdisciplinary topics are welcome, and scholars might engage with a number of diverse fields, such as anthropology, art history, biology, communication, geography, history, literary studies, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc. Panelists may also employ various theoretical perspectives.

All proposals must be submitted through the International Congress on Medieval Studies site: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/call

The proposal deadline is September 15, 2021.

contact Kris Swank with questions: 2464732s@student.gla.ac.uk

 

Quotes:

Tsing, A. (2012). Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species: for Donna Haraway. Environmental Humanities 1, p. 144.

Crane, S. (2012). Animal Encounters: Contacts and Concepts in Medieval Britain (University of Pennsylvania Press), p. 1.