Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided as an overview. The course outline, readings, and assignments may be subject to change in the final syllabus as determined by the lecturer and/or preceptors.
Where did J.K. Rowling get her inspiration from? Why is Harry Potter so popular? How do the movies change the story of Harry Potter?
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.
Week 1 – Why Study Harry Potter? Rowling, Fairy-Stories, and Genre
- “The Fantastic Imagination” by George MacDonald (1893 version)
- “The Ethics of Elfland” by G.K. Chesterton (1908)
- “On Fairy-Stories” by J.R.R. Tolkien (1947)
Week 2 – Rowling and Mythology
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Week 3 – Rowling and the British School Story
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Week 4 – Rowling and the Gothic
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Week 5 – Rowling and Mystery
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Week 6 – The Political Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 1 – 23
Week 7 – Rowling’s Autobiography through Art
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 24 – 48
- J.K. Rowling’s Harvard University Commencement Address (2008)
Week 8 – Rowling’s Books vs. Film Adaptations
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Week 9 – Epigraphs and Epitaphs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapters 1 – 19
Week 10 – Beyond the Books
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapters 20 – Epilogue
Week 11 – J.K. Rowling’s Bookshelf: Other Works that Shaped Harry Potter
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Week 12 – Harry Potter and Transformative Works: New Media, the Fan Phenomenon, and the “Harry Potter Effect”
“When Harry Met Faërie: Rowling’s Hogwarts, Tolkien’s Fairy-Stories, and the Question of Readership” by Amy H. Sturgis (2009)
This course has been offered in the following semesters.
|Spring 2018||Sparrow Alden|
|Spring 2017||Dr. Sara Brown & Kris Swank|
|Summer 2014||Jessica O’Brien|
|Spring 2012||Jessica O’Brien|
Course artwork adapted from an original illustration by Drew Blom. Used with permission. All rights reserved.