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CHL137. Harry Potter: Literary Allusion, Children ’ s Literature, and Popular Culture Dr. Annette Wannamaker Please find a seat in the first 10 rows. Please do not sit in the back rows of the auditorium.

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Harry Potter: Literary Allusion, Children’s Literature, and Popular Culture

Dr. Annette Wannamaker

Please find a seat in the first 10 rows.

Please do not sit in the back rows of the auditorium.

intro to course
We’ll hand out the course syllabus in a bit. There are a few corrections to be made, so please follow along with a pen.

Please fill out and hand in the survey. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers--just be honest! I’m trying to get an accurate sense of the make-up of the class.

Intro to course:
professor dr annette wannamaker
Professor:Dr. Annette Wannamaker
  • Office: 603L Pray Harrold
  • Office Hours: 12:15-2 p.m. Mon/Wed and 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays

Also by appointment

what s wrong with this email
What’s wrong with this email?





What is the books 4 yr claas?


Handout: “How to email your profs”

graduate assistant jennifer filion
Graduate Assistant:Jennifer Filion
  • Office: 607F Pray Harrold
  • Office Hours:

10-11 a.m. Mondays and

12-1 p.m. Fridays

need help
Need help?

We have office hours:

Mondays 10-11 a.m. and 12:15-2 p.m.

Tuesdays 5-6:30 p.m.

Wednesdays 12:15-2 p.m.

Fridays 12-1 p.m.

Or, you can make an appointment.

Or, you can email at any time.

Don’t ever hesitate to ask for help with any reading or writing assignment or for studying for exams or quizzes!

gen ed outcomes
Gen Ed outcomes

CHL137 is a “General Education Knowledge of the Disciplines Humanities Course.”

This means that the class, like all the other classes in this category, is required to meet specific “outcomes”: students are expected to come out of the course able to demonstrate knowledge of children’s literature as a discipline in the humanities.

course description and rationale what is the purpose of this course
Course Description and Rationale: What is the purpose of this course?

Since the books in the Harry Potter series are children’s texts and a cultural phenomenon, they also have become symbols in larger cultural battles over religious values, literacy, and the role of children’s literature in shaping the next generation’s beliefs about gender, social class, race, imperialism, capitalism, and spirituality. This makes these books an ideal model to use in a classroom to illustrate the relevance of literature and literary studies to society.

rationale cont
Rationale cont.

A close study of these novels as complex literary works that have roots in classic literature, as cultural phenomena, and as the objects of public debates can highlight for students all that is at stake in literary interpretation and cultural production. Therefore, students in this course will explore questions such as:

questions to think about
Questions to think about
  • Do the books have literary value, or are they just commercial products?
  • Are the books dangerous for children to read, or do they benefit children?
  • Where is the line between literature, media, and mass-produced products, and should there/can there be a line?
  • Why are these books so popular, and what does their popularity tell us about who we are and what we, as a culture, believe ourselves to be?
course outcomes
Course Outcomes:

In order to think critically about these, and other questions, the class will read some of the novels in the series; classic literature, myths, folk tales, and legends alluded to in the novels; and articles covering some of the public and academic debates about the novels.

  • Some assignments on the syllabus (listed next) have been changed to accommodate the lecture hall format: for example, instead of writing reading journals, students will take reading quizzes.
outcomes cont
Outcomes cont.

Students will:

  • take reading quizzes
  • take two exams
  • work together in groups to research, write about and present to the class an aspect of the novels
  • write a position paper

This is a combination of assignments that will require students to synthesize various ideas and to apply what they have learned to their own interpretations of the books.

knowledge of the discipline outcomes
Knowledge of the discipline outcomes:

Ideally, by the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of literary terms and concepts; of the significance of literary allusion; of the role of literature in contemporary culture; of the debates that experts have about such issues as literary merit or ideology in literature; and of the ways that both the form and the role of literature are evolving within the context of Twenty-first Century global capitalism.

Students must demonstrate competence in each of the following outcomes to successfully complete the course:
1 students will
1. Students will
  • discuss and write about current public debates about the novels, which can lead to an empathic understanding of other points of view and can demonstrate for students the role of literature in society,
2 students will
2. Students will
  • learn basic literary terms and concepts and learn to apply these to written literary analysis,
3 students will
3. Students will
  • discuss and write about current debates in the field of children’s literary studies,
4 students will
4. Students will
  • learn to develop their own interpretations of various literary texts in discussion and through informal and formal writing assignments,
5 students will
5. Students will
  • engage with a study of literature within a specific cultural context and the ways that context affects and reflects the meaning of a text,
6 students will
6. Students will
  • learn to understand and analyze the books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series as complex, inter-textual works of literature that borrow heavily from classical texts, mythology, legend, and folktales, and
7 students will
7. Students will
  • learn about and engage in current public debates about the role of the humanities in contemporary culture, and by writing about these issues in a variety of formats, students will complete the course having gained a better understanding of the roles of literature in society, of what is at stake in the interpretation of a literary work, and of the ways that literary texts function as cultural artifacts.
  • Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with all the terms and concepts just listed.
  • We’ll start to define them next class period.
required texts
Required texts:
  • Colbert, David. The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter (second edition, “revised and updated”) Wrightsville, N.C.: Lumina Press, 2004.
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1997.
  • -----. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, 1999.
  • -----. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 2000.
  • Course Packet from Mike’s Book Store ONLY.
on line texts
On-line texts

Download and print the following texts and add them to your course packet:

Go to the on-line syllabus with links

for CHL137 Winter 2008:

a note about spoilers
A Note about “spoilers”
  • Because the Harry Potter books are part of a series, which together create one long narrative, we will at times make references to books later in the series. If you haven’t read all the books in the series and don’t want the plot “spoiled” for you by hearing what happens in book VI or book VII the first week of class, then please finish all the books before class begins. This is a course concerned with literary and cultural analysis, which means we can’t curtail academic discussions simply because some students don’t want their reading experiences “spoiled.” On the other hand, because I expect students to engage in close readings of texts, we will try to focus our discussion and analysis on whichever book in the series currently is under discussion.
course requirements and grading
Course Requirements and Grading:
  • Grading Scale: 1000 total points
  • 1000-940=A; 939-900=A-; 899-870=B+; 869-840=B; 839-800=B-; 799-770=C+; 769-740=C; 739-700=C-; 699-670=D+; 669-640=D; 639-600=D-; <600=F.
points out of 1 000 assignments
Points out of 1,000 & Assignments
  • 300: 18 Reading Quizzes worth 20 points each (possible total of 360 points)
  • 200: Position Paper
  • 200: Group Research Project and Presentation
  • 150: Midterm Exam
  • 150: Final Exam
reading quizzes 300 points
Reading Quizzes: 300 points
  • During the course of the term, students will take 18 quizzes based on the reading due for that day’s class. It is very important to me that students taking a literature course actually read works of literature and essays about literature. Therefore, completing the assigned reading will count for a significant portion (30 percent) of the course grade. Furthermore, students who regularly attend class are more likely to succeed. Therefore, the quiz grading system is designed to encourage regular and punctual attendance.
how the quiz system works
How the quiz system works:
  • Each quiz is worth 20 points.
  • If you are absent, you earn a zero on that day’s quiz.
  • If you come to class too late to take the quiz, you will earn a zero on that day’s quiz.
  • Quizzes cannot be made up after class and cannot be taken early before class begins.
  • It is not acceptable to take the quiz, and then leave class. This is rude. (If you don’t want to attend classes, then please drop the course).
extra points
Extra points
  • There will be 18 quizzes, which count for 300 points out of 1,000 possible for the course.
  • Therefore, if you attend every day, do all the reading, and receive 100 percent correct on every quiz, it is possible to earn 360 points (which would be 60 points “extra credit”)
excused absences
“excused absences”
  • If, for example, you miss two days of class and then have two other days when you don’t complete all the reading and only earn 10 points on two quizzes, it is still possible to get full credit (300 points). In other words, I assume most students will need to miss a class or two because of illness or family matters and I also assume that most students will not always be able to complete every bit of the reading. Therefore, students should be able to miss two or even three classes without any adverse effect to their grade: These are your “excused” absences. Please plan accordingly and use your “excused” absences wisely. If you miss more than two or three days of class, for whatever reason, it will lower your grade
official dept policy
Official Dept. policy:

The official English Department policy is that students who miss two weeks worth of a class, for whatever reason, (four classes in a section that meets twice a week) should expect to fail that course and should withdraw.

two exams 150 points each
Two exams: 150 points each
  • There will be a mid-term and a final in this course and I will do a brief review before each exam. The exams will be a combination of fill in the blank and short essay questions. Students will be required to demonstrate comprehension of materials covered in all assigned reading (whether or not it is discussed in the class lecture), of materials covered in class lecture and discussions, and of materials taught by other students in presentations.
group research projects and presentations 200 points
Group Research Projects and Presentations: 200 points
  • During the course of the semester, groups of students will work together to research an assigned topic. Groups will be randomly assigned. There is some in-class time designated so that groups can meet to work, but most groups may also need to meet outside of class as well. You’ll need to decide among yourselves how to organize and divide tasks.
oral and written report
Oral and Written report:

The groups will present their findings on an assigned date in two ways:

  • The Group will turn in One Written Report complete with a Bibliography of Research conducted.

2. The Group will teach their topic to the class in a 15-minute presentation

grading 200 points
Grading: 200 points
  • Is based on three factors:
  • 1) The Written Report, which will demonstrate thorough and careful academic research,
  • 2) The Presentation, which will creatively and effectively teach important information to the rest of the class, and
  • 3) Written Peer Evaluations from fellow group members, which are meant to ensure accountability to the group.
1 the written report
1. The written report
  • Each group will receive an assignment sheet with a general topic, and lists of sub-topics and suggestions. The groups then will need to conduct thorough academic research on their topic and present their findings in a typed report with a bibliography of sources used.
2 group presentation
2. Group Presentation
  • The group will teach information to the class in a way that is interesting, clear, and that connects all information to the Harry Potter novels in a meaningful way. Groups can use whatever presentation style they think is most effective (a skit, overheads, writing on the blackboard, Powerpoint, etc.). Be creative and have fun!
3 written peer evaluations
3. Written peer evaluations
  • After you have completed your presentation and turned in your written report, each member of the group will turn in a form that evaluates contributions made by other members of the group. I will take the written peer evaluations into account when calculating grades for the group project.
position paper 200 points
Position Paper: 200 points
  • Students will write a typed double-spaced 5-page (12 point type) position paper that develops an interpretation of the Harry Potter novels or some aspect of the novels as cultural phenomenon. Students can write about a specific theme, symbol, or issue in the HP novels of their choosing. The essay should develop a specific thesis, which asserts an interpretation using evidence from the novels.
politeness policies
Politeness Policies:
  • Part of my job as a professor is to create a learning environment where students feel safe, respected, and able to get the most out of their learning experiences. I promise to treat all students with respect, but also must work to maintain a structured learning environment.
be on time
Be on time.

When you come to class late, it is disruptive to everyone around you. If you cannot make it to my class on time (11 a.m., not 11:02 or even 11:01) please drop the course.

turn off your cell phone
Turn off your cell phone.
  • It is not okay for your cell phone to ring in class. It is not okay to text message during class. If you are expecting a very important call (your wife is about to have a baby, for instance) you can talk to me and to your classmates before class to let us know that your cell phone will be on and may ring during class. Otherwise, turn it off.
laptops are only for note taking
Laptops are only for note taking.
  • Students who use their laptops during class to surf the Internet, to poke friends on Facebook, or to play World of Warcraft will no longer be allowed to bring laptops into the classroom.
please respect fellow students and your professors
Please respect fellow students and your professors.

The following are examples of behaviors that are not respectful:

not respectful
Not respectful:
  • doing your math homework or reading the newspaper during a lecture.
not respectful48
Not respectful:
  • coming to class unprepared.
not respectful49
Not respectful:
  • text messaging a friend on your cell phone or blackberry; playing a game on your cell phone.
not respectful50
Not respectful:
  • Surfing the web or updating your Facebook profile on your laptop.
not respectful51
Not respectful:
  • whispering or making notes to the person sitting next to you in ways that cause disruptions -- (a little of this is okay, of course).
not respectful52
Not respectful:
  • putting your books into your backpack 5 minutes before class is over.
not respectful53
Not respectful:
  • interrupting other students when they are speaking, telling a fellow student to “shut up,” telling a fellow student his/her beliefs are stupid, immoral, wrong, silly, etc.
not respectful54
Not respectful:
  • Walking in and out of the classroom during class (unless, of course, there is an emergency).
on the other hand active engaged participation and questions of all sorts are encouraged
On the other hand, active, engaged participation and questions of all sorts are encouraged.
it is always okay to
It is always okay to
  • dislike a text we are reading or to disagree with an interpretation of the text I teach (in discussion or in writing). Indeed, that is the purpose of academic writing and discussion: develop an interpretation of your own and defend it with evidence. I may not always agree with your interpretations, but I do not grade on agreement--I grade papers based on the quality of your argument, research, and evidence.
it is always okay to57
It is always okay to
  • bring some coffee, soda, or food into the classroom, as long as you pick up after yourself when you leave and as long as you are not disruptive.
it is always okay to58
It is always okay to
  • raise your hand to interrupt me (even in mid lecture) to ask a question or ask for clarification as long as you don’t talk over or interrupt other students.
next few days
Next few days . . .
  • There’s no reading assigned for Wednesday so you’ll have time to buy the books.
  • We’ll work on defining some key terms and on working through some questions about the Harry Potter books
next week
Next week
  • A week from today, there is reading assigned. We’ll start with some essays discussing Harry Potter fan culture, controversies about the books, and allusions in the books.
  • Next week you’ll be assigned the group research projects as well.