Vermont Softworks:

blog entries: conferences

All voices should be heard

… By the end of the week I felt like I truly belonged.” This is what I expected. And the luxury of this expectation is of course the very white privilege that people of color are talking about. I can just show up with a good paper, wear a tweed jacket, and speak with some authority on a topic that I’ve researched and expect that I’ll be welcomed politely, and listened to moderately attentively, at the very least. Not everyone has this experience.…


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Tolkien sessions at IMC 2020

This year’s International Medieval Congress, held at the University of Leeds from the 6th through the 9th of July, promises to be an extra relevant one for me: its special thematic strand is Borders.

I think I may post a list of all the relevant paper sessions here, but for now I’ll confine myself to only the Tolkien-related sessions.…


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2019: The view from January

The year begins with new software, new hardware, and a strong focus on the top priority: Tolkien’s maps of Middle-earth. And so far, I’ve successfully restricted paper and conference commitments to stepping-stone” content directly related to The Project.…


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Well, I’m back

I don’t, as a rule, discuss personal or family matters here; that’s the role for my personal blog. Nevertheless, I feel I should mention that I’m more-or-less back” from an unexpected journey health-wise. Details — no doubt too many for some readers, and never enough for others — are at a specialized set of pages at PostHope​.com. No more need be said here.

To celebrate, …


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Paper given

Paper given at the 15th annual Tolkien in Vermont conference at UVM:

Mapping Mordor: Normalizing Tolkien’s maps as the first step in examining his worldbuilding method of construction-by-revision; or, Yet further confirmation (as if we needed it) that Tolkien had no master plan, did not first make a map and make the narrative agree,” and, in fact, never did produce a map that exactly portrays what’s described in The Lord of the Rings


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Another paper given

Paper given at the 1st annual Tolkien Symposium prior to ICMS Kalamazoo:

The river Swanfleet: A journey from the Misty Mountains to flat fenlands and half-way back again; or, How the discovery of Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth by Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford extricates Pauline Baynes’ cartographic reputation from the marsh of Nîn-in-Eilph


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Paper given…

Paper given at the 14th annual Tolkien in Vermont Conference at UVM: Far-away places with strange-sounding names: Endonyms (autonyms), exonyms (xenonyms), and the romance of Tolkien’s toponymy of Middle-earth; or, On the redundancy of Bree-hill, the heady topper of the Brandywine, and how the discovery of Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth by Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford extricates Pauline Baynes’s cartographic reputation from the fens of Nîn-in-Eilph.” …


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Support for Tolkien in Vermont conference at UVM

The University of Vermont has financially supported an annual Tolkien at UVM” conference for most of its ten-year history. My understanding is that this has not been a large sum, but has been sufficient to pay a speaker’s honorarium and travel fees, as well as to provide a simple breakfast and light refreshments through the day. I was told UVM had found that the bequest which had been funding the event should not have been used for such a purpose (fair enough: these things happen), but that no effort was made by the university to find an alternative source of support or to provide any stop-gap funds even for the scheduled 2013 conference or its engaged keynote speaker.


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