Instructor: Heller                    T /R                  2:00pm – 3:20pm

BoK: DC – Diversity & Culture; HU – Humanities

Why have J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books been an international, cross-generational phenomenon, inspiring films, fan sites, and scores of spin-offs including a theme park?  In this course we will read the Harry Potter novels to examine their major themes and to explore why the books have proved so popular.  Topics will include:

  • Rowling’s skillful synthesis of the conventions of such literary genres as fantasy, quest-romance, the coming of age story, Gothic, and mystery;
  • The representation of such edgy issues as racial and class prejudice and Rowling’s resolute complication of simple moral binaries.

While our primary focus will be the books themselves, we will also consider topics related to the novels’ role in contemporary culture, including:

  • What the Potter fandom reveals about the dialogue between texts and readers in the internet age.
  • The relation of recent texts associated with the canon, such as the Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them films, to the Harry Potter canon.