UL turns into mini-Hogwarts for Harry Potter series

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick turned into a mini Hogwarts this week, as academics from around the globe flew in to discuss the cultural impact of the Harry Potter series.

THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick turned into a mini Hogwarts this week, as academics from around the globe flew in to discuss the cultural impact of the Harry Potter series.

The two-day event, entitled Magic is Might 2012, will feature 20 presentations showcasing international research on multiple aspects of the impact of the famous series from literature, education, law and digital media.

Harry Potter fans from around the world paid €130 to attend the conference, which will feature a number of debates about the best-selling Potter phenomenon.

Speakers from over 10 countries are set to present their work on Harry Potter, and Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey, a keen fan, will deliver an invited keynote speech, entitled ‘Harry Potter: Archetype of the Child as our Future in the 21st Century.’

Conference organiser Dr Luigina Ciolfi, a lecturer in interaction design, said the series has become a publishing phenomenon that has captured the imagination of children and adults all over the world.

“The stories created by J.K. Rowling have also inspired extensive multidisciplinary academic discussion, ranging from analyses of the cultural and literary impact of the stories to sociological and philosophical interpretations, and even to design and technology practices. The characters’ relationships, the political and social systems, and cultural commentaries woven into Rowling’s writing are just some examples of what makes the Harry Potter series an exciting framework for academic discourse in a number of areas. We will encourage intensive and lively discussion and debate around the papers. We are delighted that Wizards, muggles, established academics and postgraduate students have submitted papers, and we will put the collection of papers together into an e-book after the conference. We are also very excited to host the first Harry Potter conference to take place in Ireland,” she said.

Some of the papers being delivered include: ‘Food and British National Identity in the Harry Potter Series’; ‘The Portrayal of Non-Human Animals in Harry Potter as a Reflection on the Human-Animal Divide’; ‘Humdrum Magic: Design Explorations into the Magic of Everyday Life’; ‘The Role of Free Will in the Creation of the Criminal Child in the Harry Potter Series’; and ‘Wand Privilege: Superiority and Inferiority in Wizarding Society’.