Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Film Studies


Timothy Barnard

Committee Members

Richard Lowry

Jerry Watkins III


With films built around imagination, it is sometimes difficult to see Lord of the Rings as anything more than an amazingly detailed fantasy. Following in a classical Hollywood film tradition of stereotyped racial images, however, Lord of the Rings constructs a racial hierarchy with attributed moral values. Then, in a postmodern turn, it complicates this hierarchy through a simultaneous conflation and disassociation of color, race, and species. This enables the possibility of an explicitly progressive meaning, advocating for a multicultural cosmopolitanism defeating forces of pure evil, while simultaneously allowing for a new racialized version of whiteness in a re-centered position of power: not “just” white, but “just right” white. As such, the Lord of the Rings film trilogy leaves itself amenable to fantasies of white supremacy and an ecofascist vision of ethno-states, a fantasy to allay fears of white genocide and racial annihilation.

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