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Old 02-17-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
Tuor in Gondolin
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Sting The International Relations of Middle Earth

I just watched a C-SPAN 2 book talk by Patrick James about his and Abigail
Ruane's book, which utilizes aspects of Middle Earth politics and peoples
to illuminate facets of international relations. Here are some brief reviews
:
Quote:
Based on their successful undergraduate course at the University of Southern California, Abigail E. Ruane and Patrick James provide an introduction to International Relations using J. R. R. Tolkien's fantastically popular trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Because Tolkien's major themes—such as good versus evil and human agency versus determinism—are perennially relevant to International Relations, The Lord of the Rings is well suited for application to the study of politics in our own world. This innovative combination of social science and humanities approaches to illustrate key concepts engages students and stimulates critical thinking in new and exciting ways.

"What a nice way to initiate students into international relations theory! Young people often know imagined worlds with multiple polities better than they know their own history. Middle-earth offers a hefty dose of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Russian lore into the bargain. Here in Rohan, we are immensely pleased."
—Iver B. Neumann, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, coeditor of Harry Potter and International Relations

"The great 'trick' of this book is that it is more than a catchy hook and a way to explain IR theory that would be accessible to students. It also adds something to the theoretical interpretation of IR. The authors aren't just using LOTR to tell us about IR as it exists—they use it to critique its boundaries and then to suggest to students an accessible but theoretically more sophisticated way to look at IR theory."
—Laura Sjoberg, University of Florida

"This book is a welcome addition to the growing list of texts that make great works of fantasy and science fiction available to IR scholars. Ruane and James do a nice job bringing out the complexity of Tolkien's masterwork, showing both how one might use Tolkien to illustrate IR concepts, and how one might go about extracting Tolkien's own theories about politics from the story. You will want this book as your companion on any quest to draw insights about our world from Tolkien's tale of the end of Middle-earth's Third Age."
—Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University
One bit he touched on, not mentioned above, was feminist philosophy in LoTR. I hadn't realized there were several variants of feminism. Ruane devotes a chapter to it. James cited several varieties, Eowyn epitomizing "liberal" feminism---women aspiring to equality in vocations (Eowyn aspiring to be a warrior on a par with her brother), and the ent wives a different brand (forgrt if he classified it) which has more interest as women having different, but equally valid, roles as men. Interesting. Now I'll have to get the book.

Btw, he seems to have a fairly sound knowledge of Middle-earth (texts) but does cite and consider PJ's works a bit too much.

Oh, and Galadriel. Well, he classifies her as the single most potent of the free peoples (I guess arguably true if you exclude a few wizards).

And presumably Arwen is more your American fundamentalist type of woman. A wee bit traditional.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:41 PM   #2
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Oh, and Galadriel. Well, he classifies her as the single most potent of the free peoples (I guess arguably true if you exclude a few wizards).
Hilary Clinton is Galadriel.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:53 PM   #3
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Hilary Clinton is Galadriel.
Oh, goodness, no. Just... no.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:30 PM   #4
Tuor in Gondolin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry

Hilary Clinton is Galadriel.
Watch it or you'll end up with Chris Christie as the Mayor
of Laketown. Or in PJ's movies the King of the Goblins (although
that's being rather unfair to the Goblin King- the GK isn't
that "big boned").
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:16 AM   #5
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Surely Galadriel is our current dear Elizabeth II and Celeborn her beloved spouse who can be a bit of a liability at times.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuor in Gondolin View Post
One bit he touched on, not mentioned above, was feminist philosophy in LoTR. I hadn't realized there were several variants of feminism. Ruane devotes a chapter to it. James cited several varieties...
Once you step out of your door on that road there's no knowing where it will take you...I'm still getting over the recent Suzanne Moore controversy. Apparently, if you want to get into discussing modern feminism you're going to have to learn what intersectionality and privilege checking are. I count myself as a feminist but apparently I am a dinosaur for not knowing these terms.

I don't know if you could actually classify each female character as representative of a particular aspect of feminism - it's a constantly shifting philosophy. But you could certainly read Tolkien's works and apply different types of feminist reading to it. For example, if you applied this new concept of 'intersectionality' then you could conclude that most of the female characters are quite privileged, though you could have a field day with Eowyn's cross dressing. Not. Going. There. Right now...

I always think Galadriel has a little bit of the Maggie Thatcher about her, especially when she thinks about what might happen if she gets her hands on the One Ring
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