robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
 Information about Being in a Research Study
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!:
Secular Readings of J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium
Robin Anne Reid 
Description of the Study
Robin Anne Reid invites you to take part in her research study. She is a professor of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The purpose of this study is to learn how readers of J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium who are atheists, agnostics, animists, or part of New Age movements, specifically readers who do not believe in a supreme creator, interpret his work in the context of the common assumption that Tolkien's Catholic beliefs must play a part in what readers see as the meaning of his fiction. 
Your part in the study if you agree to participate will be to answer ten open-ended questions about your religious and/or spiritual background, your experiences of Tolkien's work, and your ideas about the relationship between religious beliefs and interpreting his work, and to supply information about 6 demographic factors. 
Depending on how much you choose to write in response to the questions, it will take you anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to complete the survey.
Risks and Discomforts
There will be minimal risks associated with this study, no more than that encountered in daily life.  
Possible Benefits
I do not know of any way you could benefit directly from taking part in this study. However, the project may help us understand how readers' responses to and understandings of literary texts is related to their personal beliefs and why Tolkien's work has become an international and global phenomenon that appeals to so many different types of readers. 
No financial or other compensation will be offered to participants.
Protection of Privacy and Confidentiality
Collecting Data
I request some basic demographic information to determine if the demographic make-up of Tolkien readers is similar to the demographics of nonreligious and secular groups in the general population. However, no personally identifying information is requested, such as your name, and you do not need to supply the demographic information to complete the survey. The demographic information requested is: gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, political identification, and an open "other" response. 
There is a possibility that you might provide specific information in your answers that, in the context of the demographic information you share, would result in information that is personally identifiable. However, I will not correlate demographic information with the answers to the open-ended questions in my analysis. None of your responses will be connected to the demographic information you supply.   
The final question of the survey asks for a contact email if you wish to be contacted for a follow-up interview. If you choose to leave an email address, that address will not be published or circulated, and only I will use it. I will not ask for personally identifiable information in the interview which will focus on asking for elaboration of your answers in the survey.
In addition, in collecting, storing, and analyzing the data collected, I will do everything I can to protect your anonymity, confidentiality, and privacy. 
The survey has been created on my individual paid Survey Monkey account; only I have access to this account. The only type of collector I am using is a web link to the survey has been posted on my private academic Dreamwidth blog: I am not using other types of collectors such as Facebook that collect data on users.  
In addition, Survey Monkey has an "Anonymous Responses collector option" which lets me choose not to track and store identifiable respondent information in my survey results. I have chosen not to store or track respondent information. 
Survey Monkey does record respondent IP addresses and store them for 13 months but then deletes them. Basic information about Survey Monkey's privacy policies and practices can be found on this site:  
The second section on this page gives information for people who respond to surveys.
Complete information about their privacy policy (as of April 11, 2018) can be found here: 
Specific information for respondents can be found at that site, including how they meet the European Union Privacy Shield requirements. 

The survey has SSL Encryption turned on which improves security by encrypting the survey and the results as they are sent between you and SurveyMonkey.

Storing Data
The survey data will be exported from Survey Monkey onto the hard drive of my password-protected computer. The exported data will not be shared either online or offline with anyone. One back-up copy will be maintained on a password-protected external hard drive. I will be the only person who can access the data. 
I will delete the survey from Survey Monkey at the end of the survey period (November 21, 2018-January 30, 2019).  The survey will close on January 31, 2019, 11:30 PM GMT-0500 Central Daylight Time.
Choosing to Be in the Study
You do not have to be in this study. You may choose not to take part and you may choose to stop taking part at any time. You may choose not to answer any of the questions. Participation is voluntary. Refusal to participate or withdraw at any time will not involve any penalty or loss of benefits, to which the subject is otherwise entitled. You will not be punished in any way if you decide not to be in the study or to stop taking part in the study.

Electronic Consent 

Clicking on the web link below indicates that:

  • you have read the above information
  • you voluntarily agree to participate in this survey
  • you are at least 18 years of age
Contact Information
If you have any questions or concerns about this study or if any problems arise, please contact the researcher at 
Robin Anne Reid
Department of Literature and Languages
Texas A&M University-Commerce 
If you have any questions or concerns about your rights in this research study, please contact the IRB Chair at: 
Dr. Tara Tietjen-Smith
Chair, Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Department of Health & Human Performance
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Commerce, TX 75429-3011
(903) - 886 - 5545 
robin_anne_reid: (Default)

Ignoring the fact that I have two essays due in the next few months, plus some others in various stages of process (meaning at editors who will no doubt have suggestions for rewrites), the mere fact that summer approaches means that New Ideas are surfacing, and one will not go away.

An annotated bibliography of sff that features female characters who are older.

I've done some searches online and don't see any existing one (though some great discussions and one fantastic amazing resource popped up). I don't see this as an academic project (in the sense of publication), more as an open-access one with the only planned publication being here on Dreamwidth.

To maintain some limits and time control, I currently plan to focus only on print works and to focus first on women authors. This may be a WIP for some time, so those limits may change in future.

I'm starting my own list, and some of the links below include possibilities. 

If you care to contribute any suggestions, feel free to drop names and titles below (full credit will be given for all suggestions of course).

I'm interested in secondary characters as well as protagonists. 

Links from first Google searches:

Reddit Fantasy

Middle Aged Women Fantasy

Sleeps with Monsters Liz Bourke  2013

 Ove Jansson's blog (multi-part series)


Catherine Lundoff's Dreamwidth


Brilliant annotated bibliography by Rebecca Marrall at my alma mater, Western Washington University
robin_anne_reid: (Default)
Some links:

Repurposing my Academic Journal

Racefail 09 as Pilot Project

Info on corpus linguistics, corpus stylistics, digital humanities

Selected presentations on racism imbroglios in fandom

First presentations I did on racism imbroglios in fandom (predated Racefail 09).

Color Blind Racism in Racefail 09

Proposal/Abstract for Conference Presentation

Handout for Conference Presentation Remember: Pilot Project

Two proposals being considered for 2011 conferences

Chapter proposal for collection (has been accepted): White Privilege: I'm Soaking in it ETA: While the proposal was accepted, the editorial changes required started to take the work into a whole new direction requiring more work, and so I withdrew it from consideration.

Abstract and Handouts for "What do you mean 'pleasure', white man?" (given at University of Bristol conference):

What do you mean "pleasure" White Man?
Pleasure Table 1-2-3
Pleasure Table 4
Pleasure Table 5

There has been major growth in fan studies (and even more in internet studies--a much larger field of study) in the last few years. It's been a while since I did searches, so I've been doing some, and here are the results.

Caveat #1: I haven't read all these. I won't read them all. I will find some that look relevant to my areas of interest and read them.

Caveat #2: Mostly peer-reviewed scholarship. Just as "art" does not mean "good" or "literature," "ditto," the same is true here.

Part I: Overview of Peer-Reviewed scholarship on Fan Studies

March 6, 2011 search in Academic Search Review.

Part II: Overview of Peer-Reviewed Scholarship on Fan Studies.

Mostly MLA, mostly focusing on fan fiction and the vidding scholarship small as it currently is.

Part III: Overview of Peer-Reviewed Scholarship on Related Topics

Social sciences databases, Internet Communities and Participatory Culture.

March 2011 Presentation (Writing Democracy)

Working Draft: Pilot STudy (Public/Private/Local/Global)

Table One: Alphabetical List of TOpics

Table Two: TOpics

Table Three: Comments

May 1, 2017

This journal has been inactive for a number of years for various reasons (primarily some health problems I have been having as well as the aftermath of a tornado which hit our house in April 2014 (nobody hurt since it was a glancing blow).

I am hoping to start being more active here and on my fan account. I realized that I should have updated this entry with the two publications that are related to my work on Racefail:

"Bending Culture:'s Protests against Media Whitewashing."
Dis-Orienting Planets: Racial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction. Ed. Isiah Lavender III. Jackson, MI: U of Mississippi P., 2017. 189-203.

"The Wild Unicorn Herd Check-In": Reflexive Racialisation in Online Science Fiction Fandom." Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction. Ed. Isiah Lavender III. Jackson, MI: U of Mississippi P., 2014. 225-240.
robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
I've been very much consumed with other stuff during the past few years (including a tornado that took out a chunk of our roof in 2014--nobody hurt in the whole area which means we were incredibly lucky--and health problems). But I have a resolution this fall to start making more use of this academic journal, focusing specifically on one of my favorite (and often most frustrating) graduate courses: Texts and Genders.

Here is the basic information about the class:

Required Reading:

Sara Ahmed. Queer Phenomenology. Duke UP. ISBN-10: 0-8223-3914-5. ISBN-13:978-0-8223-3914-4
Sara Ahmed. Willful Subjects. Duke UP. ISBN-10: 0-8223-5783-6. ISBN-13: 978-0-8223-5783-4
Ann Leckie. Ancillary Justice. Little Brown & Co. ISBN-10: 0-316-24662-X. ISBN-13: 978-0-316-24662-0
Ann Leckie. Ancillary Sword. Little Brown & Co. ISBN-10: 0-316-24665-4. ISBN-13: 978-0-316-24665-1
Ann Leckie. Ancillary Mercy. Little Brown & Co. ISBN-10: 0-316-24668-9. ISBN-13: 978-0-316-24668-2

Reading Schedule:

Weeks 2-3-4: Queer Phenomenology
Weeks 5-6-7: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy
Weeks 8-9: Willful Subjects
Weeks 10-11-12: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy

Course Description

Graduate Catalog: Three semester hours. A critical examination of how gender differences influence reading and writing strategies of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and film, including issues of gender and style, gender and usage, and gender stereotyping. This course is recommended for doctoral students planning to teach and/or produce scholarship on the college level.

The catalog description is written with an intentionally broad focus to allow different faculty to teach with their own areas of specialization.

Here's my specific course description for this class:

Fall 2016 Focus: The focus this fall is on an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach to gender theory and how to apply theory to literary works. The class will be a focus on two monographs by Sara Ahmed and a science fiction trilogy by Ann Leckie in order to explore how the theory and narrative of Ahmed's work are in conversation with the narrative and theory of Leckie's work.


Online Discussions: Six @ 200 points. 1200 points. One introduction and five on Ahmed's books.

Writing Journal: Seven entries @ 200 points 1400 points. Exploratory entries on the ways in which Ahmed's work is in conversation with Leckie's.

Paper (12-15 pages): A queer and/or willful reading of Leckie's work. Three assignments: Plan (200 pts); First Draft (400 pts); Final Draft (1000 pts). 1600 total.

Educating About Plagiarism Unit: Extra Credit quizzes and summaries.

Here are some first thoughts as I work on finalizing the materials to upload to the course shell:

More and more I have come to realize that it's important for me as a teacher to explain not only what I want students to do, but why I am having them do it the way I am asking, especially since I do all sorts of new and weird (to them) stuff.

That means a real shift in pedagogical choices from even ten years ago. One thing I've been working on, especially driven by teaching primarily online (which I mostly do because I *like* it, I know I'm weird, I did say weird, right), is embedding process writing in my theory and literature courses. The classes cannot be as writing intensive as the creative writing and composition courses I teach, but I'm working to get a balance in by using more focused discussion questions, and more journal entries which can also involve self assessment of process and learning.

So, for your fun this rainy (in Texas) Saturday morning, some text I just wrote for my Leckie Paper assignment lecture. I'm trying to break my long assignment handups into a lecture plus a shorter assignment handout that refers students to the lecture for explanation and process information.

Part of the lecture will be explaining how they're working on their final paper from the first discussion. (I'm gathering that my approach is very different from many my students report having had in their journals, so I'm hoping this will help those who find it so different to understand the method in my weirdness).

First: "Good" final drafts (defined as meeting my assignment criteria which are based on my knowledge of and experience with academic writing and publishing) come from an extensive and recursive writing process that takes place over time.

Second: Graduate students who carry a heavy weight of coursework and teaching responsibilities in their professional lives may have difficulty starting the writing process early enough on their own time.

Third: Even an extensive writing process can fail to generate a final draft that meets the standards for final drafts if students are dealing with texts and approaches that are new to them.

Fourth: An online course which does not allow for the face/face extended discussions of the traditional seminar does allow for online discussions that can be more focused and comprehensive, allowing for responses and analysis to readings to take place in a group setting where ideas can be shared and reviewed at a later time.
robin_anne_reid: (Default)
Another View on the State of Tolkien Criticism Today

The L. A. Review of Books published an essay on "Tolkien Criticism Today"by Norbert Schürer.

In 2800 words, Schürer discusses seven critical publications (from a variety of publishers) published from 2013-2015.

The seven publications are: Tolkien Among the Moderns (2015), University of Notre Dame Press; Tolkien in the New Century (2014), McFarland; Arda Inhabited (2014), Kent State University Press; Tolkien's Sacramental Vision (2014), Second Springs Books; Tolkien The Forest and the City (2013), Four Courts Press; Light Beyond All Shadow (Reprint 2013), Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; and A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien (2014), Wiley Blackwell.

His conclusion, based on this incomplete group of publications, is that Tolkien criticism today is in a "sad state" (para. 4) with few exceptions (he lists Jane Chance, Michael Drout, and Verlyn Flieger as the excellent exceptions). The reason for this "sad state," he claims, is:

Academic literary criticism has long been caught between these two versions of Tolkien — the difficult litterateur and the successful populist. On one hand, critics do not want to be seen as fawning fans, so their writing adopts a scholarly tone. On the other hand, they want to appeal to fans, so they have to cater to popular sentiment. They need to address controversial topics, but they cannot attack the author if they want to find readers among fans, and while they often try to address the entirety of Tolkien’s published imaginary writings (known as the legendarium) they can only rely on readers being familiar with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and often only in cinematic form (para. 3).

He approves (somewhat) of Tolkien: The Forest and the City but considers the Companion to be the best and to also supply "academic cachet" (para. 22).

Not surprisingly to anyone knows me, I completely disagree with his assessment of the state of Tolkien Studies generally. I believe some of the critiques he levels against Tolkien Studies are true of all bodies of literary criticism. In other cases, I argue that he is simply ignoring evidence that would contradict the he has made, claims that are inflated and unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.

Read more... )
robin_anne_reid: (Default)
I've been taking note at the sessions I attended at this year's Popular Culture Conference.

As before, with my MLA notes, these are my rough notes, just basically proofed, and my sense of what I heard. They cannot be considered authoritative/checked/edited/reviewed by speaker!

This conference was incredibly fantastic--the variety, scope, and sophistication of the presentations in the Fan Culture and Theory area was dazzling, and the other areas I managed to catch a session or two in were equally good.

This was a session cosponsored by the Romance Studies and Fan Studies area on the ethics of scholarship in fan and romance studies.

Uneasy Pleasures )
robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
Finishing up my posting on sessions! As before--transcribed, lightly edited!

Classroom as Interface )
robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
This presentation included powerpoints for all three, images, and, in the last presentation, a lot of graphs and statistical information. It's challenging to try to 'render' that in typed text (as opposed to a presentation that is delivered entirely verbally), and I'm not sure how good a job I did!

I don't teach languages, but I wanted to get notes from this session for my department's language faculty.

As I said earlier, rough notes, spellchecked and slightly edited, but probably less clear in some places due to my disciplinary ignorance.

60. Learning Outcomes in Online Second-Language Environments )
robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
Notes from MLA Sessions on or related to Digital Humanities at 2013 MLA.

Disclaimer: while I've done spellchecking and basic corrections, these are very raw. There are sentence fragments; there can be some slippage from first person to third person (I type while listening!) for the speaker, and there are some terms/words I did not catch or do not know how to spell. But I've learned from past situations, if I try to polish, these notes never get pubished.

So, they're rough.

Expanding Access session )
robin_anne_reid: (Default)
My Dean started a College IT committee, for faculty in our college to develop projects that are disciplinary specific and informed by technology (of all sorts). So he's funding us to go to an appropriate professional conference, develop a pilot project, and then teach it. I have two ideas (will talk about a bit later!), but here's a list of the MLA conference sessions I'll be attending over the next few days. I plan to post notes from the sessions here as well!

cut because of length )
robin_anne_reid: (Default)
Since the MLA conference, I've been doing a lot of other work, including administrative stuff (mostly, writing reports after being on committees, or sometimes, just writing reports).

Grant writing is much more fun! I'm teaching a graduate course on grant writing this fall as well which is very exciting--no textbook--there are none for academic grants that I've found that I've liked--so I'll be directing students to all the resources online, and helping them find grants that apply directly to their scholarly and or creative work that they can apply for, and then that will become the basis of their work for the class. We have a new Vice Provost for Research (Compliance) and Dean of Graduate Studies, and I'm excited to be working with her--she was interested to hear about the grant writing class since that's something she started at her previous university.

The other day, I got together with my linguist colleague to go over, in detail, the reader reports from the National Endowment for the Humanities on our (unfunded) Digital Humanities Grants. The reports, as is always the case with NEH, are incredibly useful, and we brainstormed a whole bunch of changes, and assigned some writing tasks.

Behind the cut are my drafts for the Abstract; Statement of Innovation; and the Significance and Contributions to the Humanities. I'm posting this small amount of text with the permission of my colleagues.

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant Materials due Sept. 27, 2012 )
robin_anne_reid: (Dragon)
I am teaching an undergraduate grant writing course for the second time, and will (perhaps! depending on scheduling issues) be teaching a grant writing course on the graduate level (humanities, social sciences, and arts only) next fall. One of the discussions that comes up a lot with my students is the frustration many of the best students have at not getting it "right" the first time. I talk about the process (and my grading is based on a modified portfolio version where the first drafts, worth very little in point value, are given 100% for effort, and lots of feedback for revision--multiple revisions). I am planning on sharing the link to this post with my current (and perhaps future students), because it concerns a grant project that I have been working on for some time: a Tolkien Stylistics Corpus project.

I might have just posted in the class, as I've done before with work, but I think there is so much mystery about the grant-writing process in general that the materials here might be of interest to other humanities scholars who want to work on grants.

I include information on the NEH grant categories I wrote for; my grant narrative; some screenshots of what the data looks like in the UAM Corpus Tool which I'm using; and the reader reports--direct from the NEH (they are anonymous of course) that explain the reasons my first draft (and by "first draft" here I mean "first draft submitted" not first draft written--I probably wrote about six drafts along the way--I'm not as careful as I used to be about saving each distinct draft with a number) were not funded. One of my linguist colleagues who is working with me on other grants was surprised at the tone of the comments--apparently linguist evaluators are nicer! I've been hearing since 1965 how trashy and popular and bad Tolkien is, and since the early 1990s how crappy my scholarship is for dealing with science fiction, fantasy, etc. that I'm more or less immune to it, so don't mind sharing. Additionally, in between some of the people who clearly think Tolkien OR stylistics OR both are worthless are some excellent responses that give me a lot of ways of re-conceptualizing and re-working the project (I always tend to take on TOO MUCH) over the next few years.

I like that the NEH sends the reader reports out on request--though odds are the review committee for later grants will be different, there are useful suggestions here that will apply no matter the make-up of the committee.

So, without further ado, my Tolkien Corpus Grant Materials!

the NEH grants I applied for )


samples of data from the UAM Corpus Tool )

Fellowship Reader Reports )

Summer Stipend Reader Reports )

My plan for revisions )
robin_anne_reid: (Default)
I am doing a presentation in the 2012 Tolkien at Kalamazoo area, at the International Congress of Medieval Studies, in May, 2012.

The purpose of this post is to invite women who are 18 and over and who are readers or fans of Tolkien's work and/or teachers who have taught Tolkien's work, and/or scholars who have published on Tolkien's work to answer a few open-ended questions about their reasons for enjoying his work.

By "women," I mean anybody who identifies as a woman.

By "Tolkien's work," I mean any of his published novels, stories, poems, or academic essays.

I will not be collecting any personal or identifying data, nor will I be attempting to make any correlations or connections between people's identity or social group and their enjoyment of Tolkien's work in this study.

Participants may reply anonymously, use a pseuodonym of their choice, or provide their legal name (or any variant of it) on the Dreamwidth site set up in connection with this project (

This project has been reviewed by my university's Institutional Review Board; full information is available on the home page at the Project journal.
robin_anne_reid: (Default)
 Behind the cut is the text of my MLA 2012 presentation that was part of a special digital humanities session I organized--it reports on the work I've been doing with colleagues the past year or two, mostly connected to grants which have been submitted to the National Endowment for the Humanities (rejected!), and grants which will be submitted in the next year to the NEH, and the National Science Foundation.


robin_anne_reid: (Default)

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