Taking Harry Seriously

Taking Harry Seriously

The Artistry and Meanings of the Harry Potter Saga

Taught by Dr. Amy H. Sturgis

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.

 

Course Schedule

Taking Harry Seriously will meet Tuesday and Friday (primary lecture and closing session) from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm (UTC-5).  Full audio and video recordings of the lecture sessions will be provided promptly for students who cannot attend the sessions live.

Week 1 (May 5 – 9):
Why Study Harry Potter? Rowling, Fairy-Stories, and Genre
Readings:  “The Fantastic Imagination” by George MacDonald (1893 version); “The Ethics of Elfland” by G.K. Chesterton (1908); and “On Fairy-Stories” by J.R.R. Tolkien (1947)

Week 2 (May 12 – 16):
Enroll Now ButtonHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Rowling and Mythology
Reading: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Week 3 (May 19 – 23):
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets/Rowling and the British School Story
Reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Week 4 (May 26 – 30):
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Rowling and the Gothic
Reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Week 5 (June 2 – 6):
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire/Rowling and Mystery
Reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Week 6 (June 9 – 13):
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Part 1/The Political Rowling
Reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 1-23

Week 7 (June 16 – 20):
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Part 2/Rowling’s Autobiography through Art
Readings: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 24-48; J.K. Rowling’s Harvard University Commencement Address (2008)

Week 8 (June 23 – 27):
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/Rowling’s Books vs. Film Adaptations
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Week 9 (June 30 – July 4):
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1/Epigraphs and Epitaphs
Reading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapters 1-19

Week 10 (July 7 – 11):
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2/Beyond the Books
Reading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapters 20-Epilogue

Week 11 (July 14 – 18):
J.K. Rowling’s Bookshelf: Other Works that Shaped Harry Potter
Reading: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Week 12 (July 21 – 25):
Harry Potter and Transformative Works: New Media, the Fan Phenomenon, and the “Harry Potter Effect”
Reading: “When Harry Met Faërie: Rowling’s Hogwarts, Tolkien’s Fairy-Stories, and the Question of Readership” by Amy H. Sturgis (2009)

 

Required Texts

Visit the MI Bookstore for special discounted prices on your textbooks for Taking Harry Seriously.

Original illustration by Drew Blom, all rights reserved.