Harry Potter Goes to College?


In the back of my closet sits a neatly folded black robe, a phoenix feather wand, and costume makeup. Like Nagini’s eerie parseltongue, they seem to whisper my name louder and louder as the release date for part one of The Deathly Hallows nears. For those die-hard Harry Potter fans out there like me—whose favorite pastime includes arguing over which house their real-life friends would be in— it can seem unfathomable, absolutely preposterous that some people have never read the Harry Potter series.

How, they ask, could parents let their children miss out on such a blissful and beautiful reading experience? And, likewise, how could some children not force their parents to reignite their now-dead imaginations with a bit of wizardry? Some cite the evils and villains the novels include as too harsh for children. Some feel they are above the pre-teen categorized stories.

However, I am here to prove these naysayers wrong. Not only is the Harry Potter series a must-read for any literate human being, it’s also a beacon of literary, religious, and historical references. It challenges readers’ ideas of ethics and provides youngins with information they would otherwise toss-aside if in a different format.

Still unconvinced that Harry Potter isn’t worth a second glance? Or that it shouldn’t be considered lasting literature? Well, just ask these following universities that offer or have offered various interesting and completely awesome courses analyzing J. K. Rowling’s genius series.

Georgetown University
“Knights of Old & Harry Potter” studies the medieval background of the Harry Potter novels, allowing students to fully understand many of the references Rowling makes throughout the series. By bringing older, academically accepted literature into the discussion, the course legitimizes the theory that Harry Potter has much more depth than the typical 12 year-old may assume.

Ohio State University
“Special Topics in Reading Popular Culture: Harry Potter” analyzed Voldemort’s childhood and its role in the novel and on Voldemort’s personality.

Swarthmore College
One of the most popular freshman courses in 2008, “Battling Against Voldemort” combines “literature, composition, and theory.” And, it even gained some attention from MTV.

Tufts University
“Analyzing Harry and his Hogwarts Friends,” this Explorations class (a one-credit course designed by juniors or seniors) kept students from falling asleep by inciting discussions and opinions about the series. Another Tufts U grad, Shawn Klein, also wrote a book titled Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts. Focusing on the good vs. evil theme that is so prominent throughout the series, the book brings up important philosophical questions with a fun twist

Yale University
Titled “Christian Theology and Harry Potter,” this Yale Divinity school course studied “sin, evil, and resurrection” in the novels. Seventy-nine people showed up to the first class, although there were only 18 available seats. Nothing makes a Christian Theology class less boring than a mob of Potterheads eager to reignite their obsession with Hogwarts – and get academic credit for it.

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