Arizona State University’s Harry Potter Society Hosts Hogwarts Professor

by Elizabeth on April 29, 2011

On April 21, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University at the invitation of ASU’s Harry Potter Society and independent scholar Dr. Joel Hunter, who has the enviable opportunity of teaching a very popular Harry Potter course (which currently holds the record for fastest time for a course to fill during registration!).

In addition to getting to see the beautiful campus of the Barrett Honors College, I had the chance to visit with Dr. Hunter and his wonderful wife Melanie (who apparently make a smashing Snape and Tonks on Halloween), chat with an amazing group of students, and present on the ways in which Rowling’s magical menagerie indicates the influence of C.S. Lewis.

Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, is a fantastic residential college where bright and promising students learn, grow, and connect with one another. As you can see from the pictures, it’s also a beautiful place to find one’s academic pathway. There is even a fabulous “great hall” in the dining facility!

On their academic journey, students have the good fortune to be guided by professors like Dr. Hunter, friend of this blog and until recently an ASU professor, whose diverse and thorough scholarship make him a perfect guide at this interdisciplinary academy. Make sure you watch for Dr. Hunter’s terrific chapter on magic and technology in the forthcoming Harry Potter for Nerds from Unlocking Press!

Barrett has an active Harry Potter Society, which gathers regularly to discuss our shared text. I was privileged to get to meet many of the delightful students who are active in this group, as well as those who were part of Dr. Hunter’s highly popular Harry Potter course. We talked about Rowling’s work and its literary, social, and personal impact, as well as conversing about other books, writing, and school. My presentation was well attended and followed up with some super questions.  It really was a treat to visit with such engaged students and faculty.

I even enjoyed my plane trip (despite some turbulence), getting to converse with a teacher planning to teach The Hunger Games and a former Mayland Community College (my school) student who is now a U.S. Marine. I also had Dr. Hunter snap a picture of me in the Sky Harbor International airport, which may seem a bit odd to non-Twilight readers, but of course, Bella gives Jasper and Alice the slip in a ladies room in this airport!

Thanks, Dr. Hunter, for the gracious invite to Arizona, and to Kim Condoulis at ASU, for her extraordinarily competent handling of logistics and one super early ride to the airport!

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