J.R.R. Tolkien seminar goes woke with focus on diversity in Lord of the Rings

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This year’s annual Tolkien Society seminar will pay “more critical attention than ever” to diversity issues, according to an announcement by the literary charity.

Academics and non-academics alike interested in J.R.R. Tolkien’s high-fantasy world will read papers at the conference next week with titles such as “Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings” and “Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.”

The organization, founded in 1969, exists to promote the life and work of Tolkien, the English Catholic writer of epics set in Middle-earth.

“Tolkien’s efforts to represent (or ignore) particular characteristics requires further examination,” the organizers wrote.

The conference will be held virtually on Zoom on July 3 and 4.

“Spurred by recent interpretations of Tolkien’s creations and the cast list of the upcoming Amazon show The Lord of the Rings, it is crucial we discuss the theme of diversity in relation to Tolkien,” the organizers wrote.

A casting agency working for Amazon based in New Zealand said it was looking for only “unusual” or “funky looking” actors for the new series.

“Do you have an overbite, face burns, long skinny limbs, deep cheekbones, lines on your face, acne scars, ears that stick out, bulbous or interesting noses, small eyes, big eyes, any deformities, Skinny faces, missing limbs?” BGT Actors Models & Talent asked in an ad.

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