Beyond Hogwarts


Search Beyond Hogwarts:

Werewolf Watch

The next Full Moon occurs on Thursday, January 28, 2021.

Reference Desk:
Beyond Hogwarts FAQ
Wizard to Muggle Currency Converter
Harry Potter Spelling Reference


Home > Harry Potter News


Feminist Sci-Fi critic to talk on women in fantasy stories

[official Press Release]

The Witching Hour Conference welcomes Marleen S. Barr, author of "Oy Pioneer!"

When Dr. Marleen S. Barr thinks about her days starting out as a feminist science fiction critic in 1980, she laughs about how different things were back then.

"Today, there are lots of young feminist science fiction scholars," Barr said. "But when I started out, science fiction was seen as crap, and feminist fiction was seen as crap, so doing feminist science fiction was seen as double crap. But the men that told me it was crap - now theyíre dead."

Barr brings her unique expertise on feminism and science fiction to The Witching Hour, a Harry Potter symposium Oct. 6-10 in Salem, Mass. Barr will participate in the panel "Sirens, Furies and Heroes: The Development of the Fantasy Woman" alongside bestselling authors Tamora Pierce and Charles de Lint, Tisch Film School writing professor Vicky Dann and Florida State University media professor Eliza Dresang.

Barr said she has great respect for the Harry Potter novels and their role in shaping the reading habits of a generation.

"When I grew up there were no computers, and I read, and reading changed my life," Barr said. "Thatís why I became a science fiction critic. You have to do your own thinking when you read, and I think that makes a more productive citizen. If Harry Potter does that, then thatís wonderful."

A teacher of media culture and society at Fordham University in New York, Barr received the 1997 Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Barr is also the author of "Oy Pioneer!", a humorous look at the world of academia and feminist science fiction criticism. Sheís done readings of the book in bars around Manhattan.

"Iím very humorous somehow - my students are taken aback because they start cracking up in class," Barr said. "I never wrote criticism in the usual way; I always put some humor in it."

A unique mix of fans and academics will descend upon Salem in October, and Barr canít wait.

"Itís great because it builds community," Barr said. "People are the most exciting reason for living, and The Witching Hour brings people together who wouldnít otherwise be brought together. And itís fun."

Barr joins two other premier academics at The Witching Hour - University of Florida childrenís literature scholar Dr. John Cech and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Dr. Henry Jenkins.


More information:
• The Witching Hour


Published March 15, 2005

Sponsored Links


Featured Discussions | The Septology | Harry's World | Harry Potter Movies | Dumbeldore Is Not Dead | FAQ


BeyondHogwarts.com is not affiliated with or approved by
Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros., or J.K. Rowling
Original Content Copyright © 2006-2010 David Haber, All Rights Reserved