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Undergraduate Open Seminar

CWL 199

Credit: 1 to 5 hours. Approved for both letter and S/U grading. May be repeated.

GER 199 / CWL 199: Harry Potter and Western Culture How does one of the most significant literary and pop-cultural phenomena of all time – the Harry Potter series – reflect and transform central aspects of Western culture? We will investigate ways in which myth, fantasy, and the novel relate and differ as forms. We will examine issues of character, genre, structure, and the philosophical and ethical issues raised within and by the Harry Potter series. We will read all volumes in the series and also consider the relation between the books and the corresponding films, and explore how different media represent and transform content. By the end of this semester, you will have learned and used the tools of close reading, explored different methods of literary and cultural analysis, acquired familiarity with significant movements in Western thought, and become acquainted with contemporary discussions about connections between traditional and popular culture as well as between literature and film. This course is open to undergraduate students on all levels. Readings and discussions are in English, with no prerequisites.