Despite a future filled with student loans, now has never been a better time to be in college if you’re a sci fi/fantasy fan. With courses being offered that analyze the Marvel cinematic universe, zombie apocalypses, and ‘The Hunger Games’, actual classes are becoming far more invigorating for today’s college students than the beer bong tournaments of yesteryear.
California State University San Marcos is now offering a course in all things Harry Potter. Folklore and Cultural Studies Professor Linda Pershing spent the spring 2014 semester teaching “Harry Potter: Culture and Folklore in J.K. Rowling’s Magical World”. CSUSM will soon be giving students the opportunity to study abroad in the summer of 2015 with the course “British Culture & Harry Potter.”
Students in the study abroad program have the opportunity to take a Harry Potter – themed tour of London, visit Gloucester Cathedral (the location of Hogwarts), and even take a real broomstick flying lesson at Alnwick Castle. In addition to seeing other locations where the Harry Potter movies filmed, students will visit numerous locations throughout Edinburgh, Scotland, J.K. Rowling’s hometown, and see the sites where she would often visit to write.
The course also aims to help students “develop critical thinking skills about complex social issues relating to inequality, race, and gender within the context of contemporary Great Britain.”
Take a look at the course details here.
Despite some people saying otherwise, Pershing believes the world of Harry Potter is worthy of academic analysis. The medium allows her to reach a greater number of students and encourage them to think more critically.The class will look at a variety of themes that come up in the books and films, including politics, race, social class, and gender.
“If we’re not looking at pop culture, we’re not understanding the world in which our students live,” Pershing states.
Maybe one day soon when you ask people their major, they’ll respond “Harry Potter,” and you won’t bat an eye! However, if they answer “communications,” you should still probably ridicule them for not choosing something more practical.