Arizona State University’s Harry Potter Society Hosts Hogwarts Professor

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.

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A Conference for Muggles

The academy seems to have finally discovered Harry Potter. And I’m not talking about any of those embarrassing incidents where my fellow academics release ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘field-defining’ monographs which unwittingly reiterate ideas Professor Granger wrote ten years ago. My news today is much more par for the academic course.

The School of  Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication, James Madison University, is hosting ‘Replacing Wands with Quills: A Harry Potter Symposium for Muggle Scholars,’ a two-day conference in November. They’ve invited proposals from scholars and enthusiasts from all disciplines and levels. Their intention seems to be to prove that academic readers care about Harry and his friend just as much as the next reader, and that no one really cares what A. S. Byatt said about the series anymore.

The deadline for proposals is 15 May, so think fast. The academy is inviting us in–is that sort of like asking Fred and George to work in a research library? Hopefully this conference, like the one in Manhattan, will help deluminate the wonderful world of Potter Studies. As the CFP itself says: ‘After all, for us muggle scholars, magic happens when we make knowledge and meaning.’

You can read the call-for-papers below the jump, or at this website.

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Hogwarts Coming to a Kindle near you?

For those of you who have been captured by the e-book craze, the sheer number of books available in this format is rivaled only by the books that are not available, or at least, which haven’t been available yet. Though we may enjoy Harry Potter’s adventures via audiobook, they have not yet been released to the e-reader crowd. J.K. Rowling now appears to be considering the possibility of releasing our favorite wizard to the e-book world. In this article, she is described as exhibiting some interest in the electronic market. While some of us may have loved the fact that our shared text could only be read on a printed page, others may be thrilled that we can take all seven books with us on airplane (really, if I could have any one object from the Wizarding World, it would be Hermione’s purse/self-storage unit, but I still like “real” books). What are your thoughts on the potential e-book release of the Hogwarts Adventures? Are you howling in indignation, laughing with delight, or scratching your head wondering what all the fuss is about?

Deleted Scene to Whet Appetites for Deathly Hallows: Pt. 1 DVD out April 15

April 15 is usually a day to strike fear in the hearts of Americans. If the IRS doesn’t scare you (and really, those folks always look like Death Eaters in my imagination), maybe Voldemort will! So the movie folks are releasing the DVD of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 on that resonant date. If your tax woes are few (or so bad you need an escape), April 15 is looking like a good movie night (I’m looking forward to the big-screen release of The Conspirator that same day)! In anticipation of the big release, here is a sneak preview of a deleted scene (with embedded version after the jump).

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