Upper Midwest Regional Midmoot

Date & Time




Hawkeye Community College and the Mythgard Institute are pleased to present the inaugural 2017 Upper Midwest Regional Midmoot, a conference devoted to exploring the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien and related authors and artists on Saturday, October 7, 2017.

A mixture of paper presentations and discussion sessions will be offered along with a keynote address by guest of honor Dr. Corey Olsen, “The Tolkien Professor.” We anticipate, weather permitting, having lunch and enjoying Dr. Olsen’s address at the Cedar Valley Arboretum with its Hobbit Hole as a backdrop.

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You can register via our RegOnline page. There are two registration levels:

  • General Registration – $15
  • Undergraduate Registration – $10

Simply choose the appropriate option during the registration process. Undergraduate registration is open only to those who are enrolled in an undergraduate collegiate program during the Fall 2017 semester.

Lunch is included in the registration price.

Conference Schedule

8:30: same-day registration tables open
9:00-9:15: Official Start, Welcome Address (Steed)
9:30-10:25: Paper Session 1 (Lindgren)/Paper Session 2 (Langseth)
10:30-11:20: Discussion session 1 (Malloy/Adamson)
11:25-11:55: Paper Session 3 (Raxter)/Paper Session 4 (Steed)
12:00-12:55: Lunch
1:00-1:55: Keynote Address (Corey Olsen)
2:00-2:55: Paper Session 5 (Boss)/Paper Session Six (Neville)
3:00-3:55: Paper Session 7 (Survilla)/ Discussion session 2 (Narigon)
4:00-5:00: Activities and socialization at the Arboretum (Hobbit Hole!)

Note that we do not have to cut things off at 5:00, even though the conference is officially over then!

Presenter Bios

Dr. Robert Steed earned his PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa. His academic specializations include Chinese religion, especially Daoism, and Japanese religion. Currently he is an associate professor of Humanities at Hawkeye Community College and an adjunct instructor of Religious Studies at the University of Northern Iowa. He is particularly interested in the ways in which religion, place, and culture intersect, and has been a fan of Tolkien since the Second Age. He serves not only as one of the organizers of this conference but as a peer reviewer for the Tolkien Society’s journal Mallorn, and along with Aaron Narigon, developed and teaches Hawkeye Community College’s Tolkien class. Dr. Steed will present “Japanese Buddhist/Aesthetic Categories as an Interpretive Framework for Tolkien’s Legendarium.”

As a child, Dr. Erika Lauren Lindgren wanted to be Tolkien when she grew up, particularly an Anglo-Saxon scholar. She ended up instead a medieval historian, now teaching at Wartburg College. In addition to teaching early history, both European and Global, she has also taught courses on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who, where her interest in fan fiction was piqued. Dr. Lindgren will present “Sexy Dwarves: An Analysis of Tolkien Fan Fiction.”

Dr. Joshua Langseth is a professor of Classical Studies at the University of Iowa. His particular areas of research interest are ancient philosophy and ancient religion. He is very passionate about the study of Neoplatonism, where many of his interests converge. He would like to thank the mysterious stranger who recommended The Silmarillion to him in the public library when he was 14. Dr. Langseth will present “Of Tolkien’s Use of Greek Myth in The Silmarillion.”

Dr. Joyce Boss teaches courses on literature, culture, and myth/folklore at Wartburg College. Her research interests include fiber artistry in myth traditions, the role of religion and folklore in Japanese popular culture, and the global phenomenon of contemporary Godzilla fandom. She serves on the board of the Northeast Iowa Weavers and Spinners Guild. Dr. Boss will present “‘She weaves all things that have ever been in Time into her storied webs’: Fiber Arts and the Feminine in Tolkien and Jackson.”

Dr. Patrick Malloy teaches courses on African and Middle Eastern area studies, cultural anthropology, and history at Hawkeye Community College. His primary research interest focuses on the intersection of culture and medicine in African history, especially East Africa. He is currently preparing an English translation of a Swahili-language literary history of AIDS in Tanzania. His life-long interest in language and culture was sparked by his encounter with Tolkien’s works.

Dr. Tim Adamson is a professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. He has been teaching philosophy and world religions at the university and college levels for 20 years. He works in the phenomenological tradition, which roughly means: look before you theorize, slow down and pay attention, and respect whatever you want to understand, at least enough to examine its basic character before rushing to “explain” it. Dr. Adamson and Dr. Malloy will be conducing a panel discussion on “Tolkien, Language, Nation, and Race.”

Katherine Neville recently received her M.A. from Signum University with a thesis studying the development of Lúthien Tinúviel from 1917 to 1931. Her previous degree is a 1975 A.B. from Vassar College, where she majored in drama. During the intervening years, she played over 50 roles in local musicals, comedies and dramas, ranging from Glinda the Good Witch to Nurse Ratched, while raising three children with her husband. She now keeps the books for her husband’s online publishing business, serves on the board of the local public library, is active in her local church — and continues to study Tolkien. Kate will be presenting a paper titled “Eä! – Primary World Incarnations of “A Hole in the Ground.”

Joshua Raxter is a student at Hawkeye Community College and was a member of the Spring 2017 Tolkien class. He is an author and has published a fantasy novel titled Fantasy Fantastic: From the Inner Darkness. He was a contributor to _Etc._ , HCC’s Arts and Literature magazine. He also writes for The Odyssey Online, where he has published a range of poetry and fiction, and is developing his own publishing company. Josh will be presenting on “Myth Creators.”

Aaron Narigon is an Assistant Professor of Communications at Hawkeye Community College, where he has taught composition, literature, and college experience courses since 2002. This includes the class Tolkien: Mythology and Methodology, which was developed in concert with Dr. Robert Steed from 2015-17. Aaron received his B.A. in Language and Literature from the University of Northern Iowa in 1998 and his M.A in Language and Literature, also from UNI, in 2004. A long time Cedar Falls native, he resides there with his wife, son, and daughter. A lifetime musician, he has played bass guitar in bands in the Cedar Valley since 1993, currently with The Nitpickers and occasionally filling in for his father’s band, The Ramblers. Aaron will present “Exploring Mysteries, One-offs, and Category Breakers: The Tantalizingly Fuzzy Edges of Tolkien’s Mythology.”

Dr. Maria Survilla is a Professor of Ethnomusicology/Musicology at Wartburg College, Waverly IA. She is also Faculty Advisor Students for Peace and Justice, Faculty Advisor French Club, Hearthside Project Founder/Consultant, and Executive Director, Center of Belarusian Studies. Dr. Survilla will present “Music and the Women in Howard Shore’s Scoring for Lord of the Rings.”

Upper Iowa Midmoot Logo

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, join Signum University for a day of fun and discussion about speculative literature at the Upper Iowa Midmoot.