Call For Papers! ‘Emerging from the Pensieve’ 11-13 October

I’ve been discussing the great turnout and talks at the St Andrews University conference in May this year and how much I’m looking forward to Ascendio 2012 in Orlando in less than a month — and I’ve neglected the first Hogwarts Saga dedicated academic conference in the United States and the follow-up program at the same location this fall.

That first was ‘Replacing Wands With Quills’ held last October at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia (read “beautiful Shenandoah Valley”!). Program sponsor Prof Elisabeth Grumnior is putting together another JMU gathering, this one called ‘Emerging From the Pensieve,’ to be held 10-13 October. Foliage!

I know I’m hoping to get there again because ‘Quills’ was so well put together and I got to meet with Hogwarts Professors Elizabeth Baird Hardy and Louise Freeman, not to mention Edmund Kern. I’m hoping to visit with these friends and others I made there, as well as the JMU Dukes and those students Dr. Freeman and Prof Suzanne Keen bring up from Mary Baldwin and Washington & Lee.

The Call for Papers has been extended until 30 June so if you’ve been waiting until the last minute to get your proposal in — hey, that last minute is all but here!

Just sayin.’ I hope to see you there so get those paper ideas packaged and sent in. All the CFP details and contact information are below the jump!

Emerging from the Pensieve: A Decade of Harry Potter Scholarship; October 11-13, 2012

full name / name of organization:

School of Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication; James Madison University

contact email:

Proposals for presentations should be approximately 200 words long. The deadline for proposal submission is June 30, 2012. Proposals should be submitted to:

Elisabeth C. Gumnior, Conference Director

Presenters will be notified by July 15.

“I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.”
-Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore’s pensieve is a place of examination and reflection created from his thoughts and memories. Revisiting these memories reveals patterns and details that no other method would uncover and allows him to interact with, explore, and share his thoughts.

Over the past decade, readers from around the world have immersed themselves in a shared pensieve: the Harry Potter franchise. They have explored the world of Harry Potter and shared the results of their inquiries and interpretations with each other. Technology has given them the opportunity to construct a pensieve without boundaries. Curiosity and an interdisciplinary spirit have provided the material to add to that pensieve continually.

Like the pensieve, this symposium is an opportunity to reflect on the shared world that Harry Potter has created. Last year’s theme, “Replacing Wands with Quills”, gathered scholars from many backgrounds to present their own unique research. This year, we seek to revisit past contributions to the pensieve and invite new ones so that we can dive into and then emerge from our pensieve to share new insight.

We welcome programming on the following topic areas and beyond:
•Revisiting past work by HP scholars, giving old ideas new life, or building on prior research.

•Crossing cultural, disciplinary, and temporal boundaries.

•Looking at the development and impact of HP scholarship over the past decade.

•Investigating the impact of using HP in classrooms on pedagogical theory and practice across the disciplines.

•Understanding how technology has developed and shaped the unique HP community.

•Examining how the HP community—both academic and non-academic—expresses and shares information.

•Exploring HP’s continued cultural importance.

•Studying HP’s expansion across media.


  1. So excited about this… sure hope I sent mine in with proper formatting, etc. And that it’s interesting enough for consideration. My research is coming together nicely… oh goodness I’m an academic at heart.

  2. Elizabeth says

    My proposal is in, and I’m hoping to be part of a Hog Prog panel as well! I am also looking forward to seeing many of our voices here with their faces attached! If anyone would like to do a panel or needs advice, please let me know!

  3. Alix Shield says

    Thanks for posting this John! I have submitted an abstract, and hope to see you again at this conference! 🙂

  4. Louise M. Freeman says

    I have submitted a proposal, as well!
    Looking forward to year two.

  5. Thank you for the “heads-up” on this conference John. This looks like a great line up of HP topics at a prestigious university and a beautiful location.

    I have submitted my proposal today.

    I have centered my paper on the impact of JKR’s emphasis on the moral virtues contained within the HP saga and the effect of those virtues on the cultural values of the reader. What are the imputed effects of courage (JKR’s favorite), temperance, prudence and justice (the big four virtues in western culture) upon the characters in HP and how Harry and his companions learn about the opposites to those virtues and their effect not only on the “bad guys” in the books but also within themselves, their own internal struggles as they face the life and death issues facing the wizarding world. Then, whammo! What are “we” to do with these decisions regarding moral virtue on terra firma, the culture, the society that we engage with every day?

    Has JKR presented Harry’s story to encourage you and I to “go and do likewise”?

    You’ll have to attend Ascendio 2012 or LeakyCon 2012 and (fingers crossed) maybe JMU to find out more on this topic and many others thanks to our own Headmaster, Professor Granger for bringing us all together in this literary extravaganza.

  6. Melissa D. Aaron says

    Have a great time, guys! I’m usually in the area for the Blackfriars Conference. It’s expensive to get there from Southern California, so I didn’t submit a paper proposal, but the foliage is indeed beautiful in October. If you can, set aside some time to drive down the road to Staunton and see a Shakespeare play at the Blackfriars Theatre. It’s a replica of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, and a must-not-miss.

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