So, I’ve now had a chance to listen to the recording of the racism roundtable, and been able to confirm some of my in-person (virtual person, that is) impressions.
The first and foremost flaw, from my point of view, is DiNardo’s assertion (in the discussion following the papers) that, given the current crisis, Tolkien scholars needed to put aside biographical studies and exploration of Tolkien’s thought and instead focus their attention on Tolkien and racism and related issues.
Tolkien’s invented languages were not mentioned but I can’t see how they’re not part of those marked for marginalization. Instead, she said, we need more RINGS OF POWER and especially MtG: Middle-earth. I concluded that she’s not really interested in LORD OF THE RINGS or THE SILMARILLION, et al, in themselves, as works of art, as in what can be done with them —i.e. as tools to fight racism.
My own belief is that as Tolkien scholars we’re all in this together. I don’t agree with the idea that Tolkien scholarship is a zero-sum game.