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Harry Potter Finally Meets UT Austin

Posted by admin on Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A growing number of universities around the country are including Harry Potter as a means of discussing rhetoric, literature, politics, and more in their curriculum. Universities such as Georgetown, Ohio State, Swarthmore, Tufts, and Yale have already implemented the novel in their studies and UT has now jumped on the bandwagon as well. Offered as an undergraduate rhetoric class (RHE 309K), which is "topics in writing", a topic that has now been chosen is Harry Potter.

In RHE 309K (44690), "by researching controversies surrounding Harry Potter, students in this course will analyze the relationship between literature and rhetoric. Students will consider such questions as the following: How and to what extent do works that we generally regard as literature convince us to make political decisions? How can we evaluate arguments that encourage reading Harry Potter and those that think the novels condone devil worship? Will children (and adults) make political decisions based on their favorite fantasy novels, and if so, is that a good or bad thing? We will consider various themes in the novels, including, but not limited to, racism (purebred wizards vs. mudbloods), homosexuals in education (who knew Dumbledore was gay?), gender relations (men have, for example, “the emotional range of a teaspoonâ€), classism (“some Wizarding families are better than othersâ€), and education reform (ministerial influence at Hogwarts)."

"Students will approach these questions in three units: one in which they will research popular opinions on banning Harry Potter in schools, one in which they will rhetorically analyze either those popular opinions or Rowling’s work or both, and one in which they will make their own case for the usefulness or uselessness of the Harry Potter series as rhetoric. In a perfect world, students will follow one of the themes listed above (racism, education, etc.) throughout the three units."

Is the Twilight series next? How to thwart off a vampire 101 perhaps.

*To check out other universities' Harry Potter courses, check out a blog by College Candy at http://collegecandy.com/2010/11/13/harry-potter-goes-to-college/

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