[HAMMOND] – Southeastern will offer a Harry Potter English class in the upcoming spring semester.
It is a special studies class called Eng 315 in the course catalogue. Professor Rebecca Rushing teaches the class but also took it as a student when she attended Southeastern.
Rushing said that she has an interest in adolescent literature and loves Harry Potter. She also said she enjoys how the story grows with the reader and the main character.
This is by no means an unpopular class. It reached capacity in the first day and a half of registration. Those who missed registering for it this time need not worry; it returns every few semesters.
This type of fan culture is a unique cultural phenomenon, according to Rushing.
She said that she picks themes to focus and work on for each book. For each of the seven books, respectively, thematic subjects include: the heroic journey, prejudice, science fiction time travel, a traditional tournament, mental illness, love and adolescence, and resolution.
Sometimes she offers movie nights for house points. House points are received based on participation, house projects, and test scores from the four houses the students are divided into. The more times a student has read the books, the more likely they are to be a prefect for their house. The house typically becomes a built-in study group. She even offers house points for wearing the correct house colors and memorabilia.
Rushing said she teaches about how author J.K. Rowling paralleled many aspects of the books with actual historical events. As a parallel to the Allied Powers’ victory in World War II, the wizard Dumbledore, symbolic of England, defeated Grindelwald, symbolic of Germany, in 1945. She also said that the characters known as Deatheaters symbolize Nazis.
Rushing said that students’ enjoyment of the class makes her happy to be a teacher. The course welcomes non-English majors but still requires a lot of work and reading, things at which most Potter fans are already adept.