Middle-earth on Earth: How people use fantasy film and literature to give meaning to Real World places

Authors: Jennifer Grek Martin*, Dalhousie University
Topics: Cultural Geography
Keywords: place and identity, media tourism, narrative
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Oakley, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Fans of science fiction and fantasy recreate and ‘live in’ the alternate worlds of their favourite stories through fan art, cosplay, video gaming, and media tourism, but I am interested in how fans discover and give meaning to places in the Real World that evoke the alternate worlds found in fantastical stories and film. Through my proposed PhD research, I intend to search social media sites, such as Flickr (www.flickr.com), for geotagged images identified in their corresponding titles, tags, and descriptions with references to Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Once found and collected, I will use a mixed methods approach to explore the ways in which fans are making connections between the fantastical and the Real. The analysis will include a broad-based geospatial analysis of the data corpus using GIS, and a qualitative analysis of selected data sets using descriptive thematic analysis for the corresponding texts and photographic analysis for the images. With this case study, I hope to find ‘Middle-earth on Earth’ and to discover the cognitive cues that allow people to experience the fantastical in the Real World. This presentation will focus on the theoretical underpinnings of this research, thematic (or descriptive) qualitative analysis of text and tags, and photographic analysis.

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