Call For Papers: ‘The Power to Imagine Better’

There will be an academic conference at which serious readers of Harry Potter are welcome in late October next year on the campus of Marymount Manhattan College (Upper East Side, NYC). The aim is to foster discussion of the “philosophical themes” of the Hogwarts Saga but it is interdisciplinary in the sense that “submissions are welcome on any philosophical theme or issue arising in the Harry Potter corpus that intersects with metaphysics, ethics, religion, literature, and/or politics.” The premise, dear to readers of this site I think, is that this is a justified exercise both in light of the value of the work itself and because of its pervaviseness in the global culture, i.e., that Harry is our “Shared Text,” like it or not.

I’ve already checked my calendar to be sure I can go and blocked out the dates. I hope to see you all there! [The complete ‘Call For Papers’ with proposal, location, date, and contact specifics is below the jump.]

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Mailbag: Why is the Latin in Harry Potter So Bad?

Next question from the Contact tab Mailbox:

Dear Mr. Granger,

My parents and I saw The Deathly Hallows film last night. My dad (who has seen the movies but not read the books) had a comment. He is a little annoyed by the “obvious” or clunky use of Latin for all of the spells. To him, it sounds cutesy, as if kids are pretending to put together enchantments from little bits of pseudo-Latin roots. And why does it sound so, in a word, dumb?

Not being a Latin-speaker myself, I gave it my best shot and answered his complaint as well as I could. As you are a Latin teacher, however, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Mailbag: Harry Potter’s Spotted Dick!

I learned last week that the ‘contact’ tab at HogwartsProfessor.com was broken and, hurrah, the web guru who maintains the site was able to fix it quickly. The good news is that I’ve been receiving on average one note a day from readers and speaking venues. The bad news, alas, is that I’ll never know how many folks, libraries, churches, and schools wrote to me here in the past year and whose notes I cannot recover.

Most of these contacts have questions or invitations even the most devoted All-Pro would not be interested in, but some are treasures. The stand-out for sheer self-promotion is this one, from a YouTube cook and Harry Potter fan:

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