Spring 2012 Courses

Taking Harry Seriously:
The Artistry and Meanings of the Harry Potter Saga

Taught by Professors Amy H. Sturgis and Travis Prinzi

In this course we will discuss the ancestors to the Harry Potter phenomenon, examine the specific works and traditions that inform the Harry Potter universe, study the Harry Potter texts in depth, and, perhaps most importantly, consider why the Harry Potter franchise has achieved unparalleled global popularity today. In the process, we will take both a theoretical and historical approach to popular culture in general and J.K. Rowling’s works in particular. Wizards, witches, squibs, and muggles are welcome as we get to the very heart of Harry Potter.


Enrolled Students

  • visit Syllabi to download the course syllabus for Taking Harry Seriously
  • use Course Tools to get access to lectures, discussion sessions and all other course materials

Class Schedule

Week 1 (January 23-27):
Why Study Harry Potter? Rowling, Fairy-Stories, and Genre

Week 2 (January 30-February 2):
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Rowling and Mythology

Week 3 (February 6-10):
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets/Rowling and the British School Story

Week 4 (February 13-17):
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Rowling and the Gothic

Week 5 (February 20-24):
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire/Rowling, Race, and Gender

Week 6 (February 27-March 2):
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Part 1/Rowling and Postmodernism

Week 7 (March 5-9):
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Part 2/Rowling, the Political Fairy Tale, and the War on Terror

MARCH 12-16: NO CLASS (Spring Break)

Week 8 (March 19-23):
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/Rowling’s Books vs. Film Adaptations

Week 9 (March 26-30):
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1/Rowling and her Flawed Heroes

Week 10 (April 2-6):
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2/Rowling’s Themes and the “Big Picture”

Week 11 (April 9-13):
J.K. Rowling’s Bookshelf: The Works that Shaped Harry Potter

Week 12 (April 16-20):
The Tales of Beedle the Bard: How It Enhances Harry Potter’s World

Week 13 (April 23-27):
J.K. Rowling’s Autobiography through Art: Her Message, Critics, and Example

Week 14 (April 30-May 4):
Harry Potter and Transformative Works: New Media and the Fan Phenomenon

Week 15 (May 7-11):
Is the Harry Potter Series a “Classic”?



The Making of Myth: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien

Taught by Professor Corey Olsen

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are two of the pillars of modern fantasy, and their friendship is well known.  Despite the fact that the two authors are so frequently associated with each other, however, their works are rarely examined closely together. In this class, we will engage in a careful comparison of Lewis’s and Tolkien’s fiction, paying close attention to those moments when they are both exploring similar ideas or undertaking comparable literary enterprises.  What do these two authors really share in common, and where do their primary differences lie?


Enrolled Students

  • browse the MI Bookstore to purchase books from Amazon from the reading list for this course
  • visit Syllabi to download the course syllabus for The Making of Myth: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien
  • use Course Tools to get access to lectures, discussion sessions and all other course materials

Class Schedule

Week 1 (January 23-27):
Tolkien and Lewis’s Friendship

Week 2 (January 30-February 2):
Myth and Storytelling

Week 3 (February 6-10):
Introduction to Fantasy I: The Hobbit

Week 4 (February 13-17):
Introduction to Fantasy II: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Week 5 (February 20-24):
Cosmogony I: “Ainulindale”

Week 6 (February 27 – March 2):
Cosmogony II: The Magician’s Nephew

Week 7 (March 5-9):
Eschatology I: The Last Battle

MARCH 12-16: NO CLASS (Spring Break)

Week 8 (March 19-23):
Eschatology II: “Leaf by Niggle,” “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”

Week 9 (March 26-30):
The Fall I: Perelandra

Week 10 (April 2-6):
The Fall II: Quenta Silmarillion, Chapters 7-9, “Akallabeth”

Week 11 (April 9-13):
Myths Revisited Ia: Till We Have Faces

Week 12 (April 16-20):
Myths Revisited Ib: Till We Have Faces

Week 13 (April 23-27):
Myths Revisited II: “The Lost Road,” “The Notion Club Papers”

Week 14 (April 30-May 4):
Perilous Realms I: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Week 15 (May 7-11):
Perilous Realms II: “Smith of Wootton Major”