Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A20. The Politics of Harry Potter

For many of us, Harry, Hermione, and Ron were our childhood playmates. We shared experiences of a first day at school, making best friends and worst enemies, getting in trouble, dealing with tragedy, falling in love, struggling with personal identity, and overcoming obstacles. Along the way, we witnessed the construction of a wizarding world that exists just outside the peripheral vision of muggles like us. Just like our world, the wizarding world is heavily institutionalized and rife with political intrigue and power struggle. Students in this course will examine a variety of political themes and institutions through this wizarding world. We will study political authority in the Ministry of Magic, punishment and human rights through a consideration of Azkaban, resistance with Dumbledore’s Army, political economy in Gringott’s, racism with the mudbloods, speciesism through the struggle of house elves, terrorism with the Death Eaters, and much more. In order to get the most out of the course, students are expected to have read (and ideally recently re-read) the full Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling before attending the first class.

Aubrey WestfallAubrey Westfall
Assistant Professor of Political Science