Mythcon 51: A virtual Halfling” Mythcon

51st annual Mythcon

Session 11

1 August 2021 20:00 utc — view in local time


    № 1: Q&A with unofficial Mythsoc historian Lee Speth

    Alicia Fox-Lenz; and Lee Speth

    An attendee of Mythcon 3 and a Steward since 1979, Lee Speth has been called the Mythopoeic Society’s unofficial historian. Usually trapped” behind the Mythopoeic Society Merchandise Table at Mythcons, this year he is free to contribute to programming and regale us with stories from bygone times. Come ask Lee about the history of the Mythopoeic Society, Golfimbul, and general shenanigans.

    № 2: The personhood of Nature in J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium

    Sofia Parrila, University of Alberta

    This paper argues that J. R. R. Tolkien’s portrayal of plants, animals, and geographical features as morally complex persons is central to the ecocentric model of environmental stewardship developed within Tolkien’s Legendarium. Tolkien’s Middle-earth writings endow non-human beings such as animals, plants, and even rivers with personhood by emphasizing their individuality, their capacity for interpersonal relationships, and their agency to make moral choices. I build on work done by critics such as Susan Jeffers (Arda Inhabited), and Matthew Dickerson and Jonathan Evans (Ents, Elves, and Eriador) to find a practicable and inspirational environmental ethic in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales. The most common philosophical framework for analyzing Tolkien’s environmentalism is a Catholic model of stewardship. But a traditional stewardship ethic, in which environmental responsibility belongs to human beings acting as God’s stewards, risks falling into anthropocentrism or a sense of entitlement over a nature that is understood as resources existing for human extraction. By analyzing three of Tolkien’s works — The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and the unfinished story Aldarion and Erendis” — this paper argues that Tolkien was aware of the limits of human environmental stewardship. Tolkien’s Catholic Christian background and his deep love for natural features interact to create an ecological ethic indebted to the stewardship model, but in which humanity does not have a monopoly on stewardship, and in which the value of nonhuman Creation comes directly from its personhood.

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    date recorded 📅2022-01-23
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