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Friday, September 3 • 10:00am - 10:30am
A Modest Witness in Middle-earth: Reading the Intersection Between J.R.R. Tolkien and Donna Haraway

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In her work 'Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouseTM', Donna Haraway examines cultural representations of scientific discovery, taking the reader on a textual & visual journey through a technoscientific world. In the process, she criticises conventional scientific objectivity, which is grounded in an ideal of the scientist as neutral or value-free; an ‘invisible’ modest witness who merely reflects the results from scientific experimentation but is not reported upon themselves. Tolkien’s ‘modest witnesses’, who see, then report, so that others may know, also complicate the boundary between knower & knowing, as they are often actively aware of playing a part within a narrative. This paper uses Haraway’s theory of the modest witness to explore the ways in which Tolkien references songs, tales, & the oral tradition of storytelling to underline the importance of being not just a witness to events, but an active participant in their reframing as historical narrative.

avatar for Sara Brown

Sara Brown

Chair of Faculty, Signum University
Dr Sara Brown lives in North Wales, UK. She is the Language & Literature Department Chair and Thesis Coordinator for the MA Program at Signum University, teaching and lecturing in the university's Tolkien Studies stream. She is on the editorial board of Mallorn, the academic journal... Read More →

Friday September 3, 2021 10:00am - 10:30am BST
1 - Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre & Online (Webinar Strand)