18 July 2023

Call for Presentations at the CharlOz Festival

On September 27-29, 2024, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina; the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and other organizations, local and national, will host CharlOz, a three-day festival exploring The Wonderful World of Oz and its cultural legacy.

The event is now open to proposals for presentations on almost any aspect of Oz, particularly:
  • History and Culture: Oz’s reflection of American history and/or culture
  • Social and Economic: Aspects of Oz relating to race, class, disability, or childhood
  • Visual and Performing Arts: Analysis of the visual or performing arts as they relate to Oz
  • Literary Arts: Authors and/or illustrators who have adapted Oz, and how those adaptations fit into the larger framework Oz provides
  • Gender Studies: Oz themes that examine gender roles/norms/traditions and sexualities, including LGBTQIA+ Oz portrayals of education, love, herosim, self-reliance, and teamwork
  • Technology: Application of non-traditional technologies that include podcasts, games, making, or other examinations of how varied technology transforms Oz themes
  • Mass-Marketing: Presentations of how a creator’s mass-marketed Oz work fits within the larger Oz world
Presentations can take the form of individual talks, group talks, workshops, roundtables, or panels.

The guidelines for submitting a 250-word proposal are on this page. The submission deadline is November 17, 2023. The organizing committee will respond to submitters by the end of January.

11 July 2023

Contents of The Characters of Oz

Last week I introduced The Characters of Oz, a collection of essays that I contributed to, edited by Dina Schiff Massachi.

Since I don’t yet see this information on the web in a form easy to search out, I’m sharing the contents of this book.
  • Introduction — Dina Schiff Massachi
  • Dorothy and the Heroine’s Quest — Mark I. West
  • But First, There Was a Scarecrow... — Katharine Kittredge
  • Heart Over Head: Evolving Views on Male Emotional Intelligence and the Tin Woodman — Dina Schiff Massachi
  • The Proto-Sissy, the Sissy, and Macho Men: The Cowardly Lion in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the MGM The Wizard of Oz, and Dark Oz Stories — Dee Michel and James Satter
  • A Good Man but a Bad Wizard? The Shifting Moral Character of the Wizard of Oz — J. L. Bell
  • Witches, Wicked and Otherwise — Robert B. Luehrs
  • Witch's Familiars or Winged Warriors? Liberating the Winged Monkeys — Dina Schiff Massachi
  • Glinda and Gender Performativity — Walter Squire
  • Ozma, Sorceresses, and Suffrage: Women, Power, and Politics in L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz — Mary Lenard
  • A Living Thing: The Very American Invention of Jack Pumpkinhead — Paige Gray
  • Trading Knitting Needles for Pistols: The Feminist, Violent, and Sexual Evolution of General Jinjur — Shannon Murphy
  • The Nome King — Angelica Shirley Carpenter
  • Piecing Together the Patchwork Girl of Oz — Gita Dorothy Morena
  • Afterword: Frank and His Imagination — Robert Baum
  • Bibliography: Further Oz Readings, Fiction and Nonfiction — Dina Schiff Massachi
In other (surprising) news about this book, it’s been printed, and McFarland is taking orders.

04 July 2023

The Characters of Oz and the Character of Oz the Wizard

Later this year McFarland will publish The Characters of Oz: Essays on Their Adaptation and Transformation, edited by Dina Schiff Massachi of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The publisher says, “This collection of essays follows Baum’s archetypal characters as they’ve changed over time in order to examine what those changes mean in relation to Oz, American culture and basic human truths.”

Among those essays is my own “A Good Man But a Bad Wizard?: The Shifting Moral Character of the Wizard of Oz.”

One of the few lines that appeared in both L. Frank Baum’s original novel and the 1939 MGM movie was the Wizard’s insistence that he was “a good man, but a bad wizard.” Within that first novel the Wizard was a humbug whom people believed in, a tyrant who benefited his people, but ultimately someone Dorothy couldn’t rely on.

Just a few years later, however, the American public knew the Wizard of Oz unambiguously as a bad man in the Wizard of Oz stage extravaganza. And a few years after that, Baum brought the Wizard back as a stalwart friend for Dorothy and eventually a real magic-worker. This essay analyzes those changes in his persona across media and moral boundaries.

Other articles in this collection include Katharine Kittredge on Dorothy, Dee Michel and James Satter on the Cowardly Lion, Walter Squire on Glinda, Paige Gray on Jack Pumpkinhead, and Angelica Carpenter on the Nome King, among many other experts. Dina Massachi wrangled the contributors and provided her own exploration of the Winged Monkeys.