It's academe gone very, very, very wrong. Very wrong.
In some ways, it could be any other academic conference: Dr Christopher Blazina, an associate professor of psychology at Tennessee State University, has a PowerPoint presentation prepared. The audience is studiously attentive. And a couple of people are typing directly into their laptops. It could be any other academic conference apart from the fact that there are at least three middle-aged women dressed as witches complete with hats, cloaks and wands. In front of me is a row of four twenty-something women in grey school skirts, knee-socks and black gowns. And, sitting next to me, assiduously writing notes with a feathered quill onto what looks like parchment, is a boyish-looking teenage girl with cropped brown hair, and, the tell-tale giveaway, a pair of little round glasses.
Lumos 2006 is not just another conference, it's 'a Harry Potter symposium', and most of the audience aren't academics at all, they're common-or-garden fans, 1,200 of them in total, here for three days' worth of talks, presentations and panels. Dr Blazina's presentation is just one out of a possible six others being held in the same time slot, including 'Not Just Good and Evil: Moral Alignment in Harry Potter' and 'Bloody Hell! Why Am I So Wild About Harry?'
His main thesis seems to be that Harry is growing up. Or as he puts it, 'Hogwarts is a tangible liminal state where Harry learns to re-sort Bad Objects and decathect from them'.
Here's the whole thing. From the Guardian UK.