Featured Image Credit: today.cofc.edu
Yep, it’s true. You don’t have to be a wizard or a witch to have Harry Potter in your classroom.
If you’re looking for a college where your love (or should we say obsession?) of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter novels will be appreciated, look no further than ENGL 190 at the College of Charleston.
Since 2009, College of Charleston professor of English, Trish Ward, has been teaching a three-credit special topics course on…..get ready for it…..HARRY POTTER!
“I start the semester just like they do at Hogwarts – by letting the Sorting Hat assign each student to one of the four houses,” says Ward. “Unfortunately, though, my sorting hat doesn’t read minds or talk.”
From there, the broken down “houses” continue to have group discussions and presentations throughout the course. They specifically look at themes of love, mystery, loyalty, friendship and “ancient magic” throughout the series. The course also looks at some of the authors who had an influence on those themes, including Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
The course isn’t all spells, quidditch, Care of Magical Creatures Lab, or Defense Against the Dark Arts 101 (too bad!). Students must read the ENTIRE series (which is close to 4,000 pages,) write 5 papers, complete projects, tests, quizzes and exams; it’s just like any other english course. As expected, there is fierce competition for limited seats.
For the final project of the class, students have the most freedom to let their creative witch or wizard juices flow.
“One student even made a YouTube video applying makeup for the characters. They get really imaginative with it,” says Ward.
Jason Coy, associate professor of history at College of Charleston, focuses his research on magic and superstition in early modern Europe. He says that the Harry Potter series has been extremely influential in the way his students look at history and culture, and the series is brought up very frequently in his classes.
As a matter of fact, colleges all over the nation are embracing Harry Potter mania, and many are offering courses that focus on the books and their characters. These courses are not only offered by English departments, but in medieval studies, theology and physics, among other fields.
“You can’t gage how important this series is to college-age students who grew up with them,” says Ward. The generation cherishes the Harry Potter series; It was a part of their childhood. When they get older, they will be showing the films to their children, and so on.
To top it all off, College of Charleston has a legit quidditch team…and they are ranked No. 12 in the entire world, according to the International Quidditch Association. It’s a mix between soccer, rugby and dodgeball. Unlike the movie where the players fly on broomsticks, this game is on the ground, literally. Players run with the brooms between their legs while trying to throw balls through mounted hula hoops.
Everybody knows college is a magical place, but for these students, it’s even easier to get wrapped up in a fantasy!
For more information, contact Trish Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.