Instructor: Heller
TR 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM

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 synthesis of the conventions of such literary genres as fantasy, quest-romance, the coming of age story, Gothic, and mystery;

· The representation of racial and class prejudice and the series’ complication of simple moral binaries.

This year, we will also address an important new issue related to the series: how do we square its messages about love and inclusion with the transphobia that Rowling has displayed in recent comments on social media, and which many also see reflected in the plot of her latest mystery novel? Those teaching this class register our strong disapproval of Rowling’s recent remarks. But we also wish to use this controversy as a means of discussing prejudice and the representation of marginal groups in the Potter series, as well as to ask questions—relevant not only to these books, but to many other literary texts—about how our response to an author impacts our response to their work