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Home > Harry Potter News

Professor lectures on the Harry Potter phenomenon

10/28/2005 -- Halloween may be the only time of the year when most people think about witches and wizards but students of Westminster biology professor Dr. Tammy Stiller discuss the subject more often because of her use of Harry Potter as a teaching tool—a skill she put to use at a national symposium on Potter held Oct. 6-10 in Salem, MA.

Stiller participated in a panel discussion of professors who talked about the "perils and potential" of using Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling in their course curriculum. Other panel discussions by university and college professors included such titles as "Christianity and Harry Potter" and "Bucolic Bullionism: Economics in the Wizarding World."

She also gave a presentation at the seminar entitled "Harry Goes to College: Using Harry Potter in a Freshman Seminar."

The five-day event called "Witching Hour" draws over 1,000 people and was originally held in July, 2003. While first hosted at Walt Disney World by its organizers, a Harry Potter fan group from Texas called HP Education Fanon, Inc., the symposium is now held in Salem because the historic seaport home of the famous Salem Witch Trials is the only American location cited in Potter books. Chris Rankin from New Zealand, who portrayed Percy Weasley in three of the Potter films, was an attendee.

Dr. Stiller teaches a seminar at Westminster College entitled "The Harry Potter Phenomenon."

"We don’t approach it as literature but as a way to approach a broad array of topics," says Dr. Stiller. "Rowling has such a wonderful understanding of human nature. Her books are about real emotions and real experiences."

The Potter books, which relate the adventures of a young man at Hogwarts, a magical boarding school, have proven to be a literary and film phenomenon for children and adults alike. The books have been translated into 63 different languages.

(official Press Release)

Published October 31, 2005

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