Thesis Theater: Nadia Schafer, “One Strange (s)Elf: Deep Ecology, Decolonization, and the Radical Hope of Legolas Greenleaf”

Date & Time

Start: September 5, 2022, 7:00 pm

End: September 5, 2022, 8:00 pm



Signum MA student Nadia Schafer will present her thesis “One Strange (s) Elf:  Deep Ecology, Decolonization and the Radical Hope of Legolas Greenleaf ” and respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. The discussion will be facilitated by Nadia’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Sara Brown.


 While living through a national reckoning, a global pandemic, and a worsening climate change crisis, what The Lord of the Rings can offer to those living on Turtle Island in the 2020s? This thesis argues that the text offers its reader radical hope through the ecocritical voice through the character Legolas Greenleaf. Strongly influenced by the writings of Joanna Macy, Donna Haraway, and Robin Wall Kimmerer, “One Strange (s)Elf” explores the narrative of Legolas’ role in the process of decolonization and restoration in Middle-earth. Using a postcolonial analysis paired with Deep Ecology, this thesis establishes an Indigenous reading of the Silvan Elves. Building of this reading, it further demonstrates the power of making Oddkin as an act of decolonization, explores the elements of the Queer Gothic in the depiction of Fangorn’s Huorns, and acknowledges the power of shared grief. Finally, this work demonstrates how Tolkien suggests to his audience an alternative to despair by offering the choice to stray.

About the Presenter

Nadia Schafer (she/her) is a Social Services Worker, Certified Human Resources Professional, and speculative writer living on the Haldimand Tract in Southwestern Ontario. Her career as a jack-of-all-trades has included everything from non-profit consulting to teaching preschool. You can find her promoting her creative work as Nadia Steven Rysing on Twitter @a_tendency.

About Signum Thesis Theaters

Each of our master’s students writes a thesis at the end of their degree program, exploring a topic of their choice. The Thesis Theater is their opportunity to present their research to a general audience, and answer questions. All are welcome to attend!

Join us on September 5th at 7pm ET for a Thesis Theater to explore issues that concern us today, and were ahead of their time in Tolkien’s writings.