Middle Moot will be held at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, IA, on Saturday, October 14. Our theme this year is “Tolkien and the Anthropocene.” Our keynote speaker and guest-of-honor will be Janet Brennan Croft, editor of Mythlore, author of War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and editor of Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien. In addition, the Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen, will be there too! Join us for a day of Tolkien-focused exploration and enjoyment!
Among the many topics that Tolkien explores in his legendarium is that of how the various peoples of Arda modify their environment. Built structures, cities, cultivated landscapes, mines, gardens, fortifications, factories, shipyards, trading networks, roads, canals and so on all form part of Tolkien’s sub-created world. The effects of these constructs do as well, ranging from enhanced beauty and usefulness, from the perspective of their creators, all the way to the laying of rampant waste to entire landscapes and everything in between. Social practices also have their effect on the world: war and preparation for war, resource collection, agricultural practices, exploration and colonization, and the ever-changing status of various political entities all play their part. In other words, Arda is not simply a fixed landscape upon which characters and people live their lives, but is an object (and sometimes an active participant) of extensive creative development and manipulation from a variety of actors within the legendarium. As always, Tolkien may be commenting on tendencies in the primary world (or not) as he tells these tales.
We invite you to consider Tolkien and the Anthropocene as you join us in Iowa for Middle Moot 2023. While presentations on the conference theme are encouraged, any Tolkien-related presentation will be considered whether it fits the theme or not. However, in the case of many presentation proposals and few presentation time slots, preference will be given to those that fit the conference’s theme.