Harry Potter has come to Endicott! Next Fall, Professor Rich Nastasi will be teaching LST377 – Critical Perspectives in Harry Potter (or, as Professor Nastasi likes to call it, The Course that Lived Come to Die).
While the Potter fan in us is quite excited about this class, the literary student will be busy as well. Take a look at the course description:
The class will explore the significant links and notable exceptions of the Harry Potter series to Joseph Campbell’s notion of the mono-myth. Issues discussed will include hegemony, feminism, addiction, and the novels’ relationship to Campbell’s hero’s journey. Students will be responsible for three extensive papers and for participating in small group seminars during a Potter weekend at Endicott during the semester. They will be expected to have read the books before class begins.
Professor Nastasi helps answer a few questions about the class:
Endicott Blog: How did the concept for this class get started?
Rich Nastasi: I teach an Honors Seminar on the culture of heroism, and we regularly cover the well-known fantasy classics: C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. I thought that the completion of the movie series and the connection this current generation has to the story gave us an appropriate timeline to segment Harry into his own special topics course. And we have a wait list – so it’s been very popular!
EB: What appeals to you in teaching this class?
RN: I like to think of it as literary archeology – take something that you’re interested in, and dig deeper. We’ll be taking a look at Joseph Campbell’s writings on the hero’s journey, as well as other evaluative literature, and determining where literary theories fit in the characters and plot of the Harry Potter series. Harry is our ‘spoonful of sugar’ to make the reading, writing, and critical thinking a bit more relatable.
EB: What are some of the requirements of the course?
RN: There will be eight short (2-page) discussion papers dealing with weekly academic readings, and two major papers (one 12-15 pages and the other 5-7 pages) on topics of interest to the student. The larger one will be due near the end of the semester and the other at PotterPolooza.
EB: PotterPolooza? That sounds interesting!
RN: PotterPolooza will be a weekend in mid April to celebrate all things Harry Potter. We’ll show all the films with round-table discussions before each– these round tables will be lead by LST377 students in conjunction with their paper topics. The weekend event will be sponsored by Student Activities and be open to the entire EC community. On Saturday night there will be a Potter-themed dance for a cause to be decided by the class.
EB: Will the class be a staple at Endicott if it’s a success?
RN: For now the plan is to only hold this class once – I feel there’s a shelf life to it. However, Harry will always be in my Culture of Heroism class.
EB: And in our hearts, right?
RN: Do I have to answer that?