This 2-unit course meets during the last seven weeks only, First Class: Oct. 25; Last Class: Dec. 13.
The Harry Potter books and films are some of the most popular stories of the early twenty first century. Millions of young fans grew up listening to, reading, and viewing the adventures of Harry and his friends, and many of them came of age along with the characters. In more recent years, books, museum shows, amusement parks, popular music, and theater have continued the stories and the popularity among fans of all ages. This course will study the influence the stories have had and continues to have, specifically their impact on the way fans interact with ideas and topics such as mental health, education, post-colonialism, child labor, feminism, race, political resistance, animal rights, fake news, religion, sexuality, and technology. We will analyze reading practices, fan fiction, debates over canonicity and censorship, and rituals of cosplay. How has the character of Hermione impacted ideas of women in higher education? Does “Dumbledore’s Army” offer a useful model of resistance? How do various fan fiction “shipping” strategies subvert the heteronormativity of the novels? Is Hogwarts a progressive or conservative model of education? The class will assume complete familiarity with both the books and the films. Our reading will include short sections of the novels along with secondary sources, documents, pod casts, criticism and fiction produced by fans, scholars, and journalists. We may also experience the Harry Potter-themed “Griffins, Goblets and Gold” tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and visit the British Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic show at the New York Historical Society.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)