Some parallels that might be examined include (but are not limited to):
• The corruption within The Ministry of Magic and the wizarding educational systems and similarities to/differences with threats that currently face higher education (e.g., loosening of Title IX, challenges to academic freedom, demands for trigger warnings and safe spaces, etc.)
• Voldemort’s platform of racial purity and similarities to/differences with the many social and political schisms that currently divide Americans along lines of race/ethnicity, class, gender, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
• The rise of the Dark Lord and his followers throughout the final books of the series and similarities to/differences with the emergence of various oppressive governmental figures and/or regimes both at home and abroad
• The Death Eaters and similarities to/differences with various terrorist groups
• Azkaban and similarities to/differences with conditions in the American prison systems (both private and public)
At the heart of these discussions, will be the question: What lessons does the Harry Potter series have to teach twenty-first-century Americans about being both more responsible community members and better “neighbors” in a politically divisive world?
As a capstone for the course, students will collaboratively research, select, and undertake one literacy project (e.g., book drive, dictionary project, Books for Babies, Reading Buddies, school supply drive, Newspapers in Education, Mini- Library/Bookmobile Project, etc.) that benefits a specific local or/and global community.