Manage episode 308116195 series 2638790
This recording from November 18 2021.
Signum master’s student Eugene Sullivan will present his thesis “Red Indians in Middle Earth: The Woses of Drúadan Forest and the Racial Landscape of Tolkien’s Legendarium” and respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. The discussion will be facilitated by Eugene’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Sara Brown.
The shift from the mythological mode of The Book of Lost Tales and the early Silmarillion, to the novelistic mode of The Lost Road and The Lord of the Rings brought the Men of Middle-earth into sharper focus. The Lord of the Rings is, as Tolkien noted, “a Mannish affair”. In populating Middle-earth with Mannish cultures, Tolkien drew on many sources for inspiration, both historical and literary. For the Woses, who appear unexpectedly from the forest in The Return of the King to help bring the Rohirrim to the aid of Gondor, Tolkien looked to a cultural depiction that had captured his interest as a child: the Red Indian. As depicted in The Lord of the Rings, these people are the inheritors of a complicated legacy of stereotypes that reaches back through the Piccaninnies of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, through the Mohicans and Hurons of Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans, to the travelogues and romances generated by the interactions between European settlers and the Indigenous inhabitants of North America. This thesis explores the history and characteristics of the Romantic Indian trope, and the ways in which their presence, and Tolkien’s attempt to explain that presence, alters the cultural landscape of all three Ages of the history of Middle-earth.
About the Presenter:
Eugene Sullivan earned his BA in English from UC Santa Barbara. He is a lifelong fan of Tolkien, and was a regular listener of the Tolkien Professor podcast before beginning the Masters program at Signum University. He is employed as a System Engineer at Sony Pictures Entertainment, and also plays guitar in a Traditional Irish band. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two kids, and two dogs.
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!
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