Blog Template Theology of the Body: It's academe gone very, very, very wrong. Very wrong.

Monday, August 07, 2006

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.

CF MM's post on the Potter Phenom while youre at it...