An International Academic Conference exploring the cultural influence of the Harry Potter books and films entitled ‘Magic is Might 2012’ opens at the University of Limerick today. The two-day event will feature 20 presentations on papers showcasing international research on multiple aspects of the impact of the Harry Potter series from literature, to education, law to digital media. Speakers from over 10 countries are set to present their work on Harry Potter and the conference will also include the live trial of controversial character Dolores Umbridge in the University of Limerick Moot Court exploring her crimes and debating the severity of her punishment.
Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey, a keen Harry Potter fan, will deliver an invited keynote speech entitled “Harry Potter: Archetype of the Child as our Future in the 21st Century.’
Conference Co-organiser Dr Luigina Ciolfi said: “The Harry Potter series has become a publishing phenomenon that has captured the imagination of children and adults all over the world. The stories created by J.K. Rowling have also inspired extensive multidisciplinary academic discussion, ranging from analyses of the cultural and literary impact of the stories to sociological and philosophical interpretations, and even to design and technology practices”
“The characters' relationships, the political and social systems, and cultural commentaries woven into Rowling’s writing are just some examples of what makes the Harry Potter series an exciting framework for academic discourse in a number of areas. We will encourage intensive and lively discussion and debate around the papers. We are delighted that Wizards, muggles, established academics and postgraduate students have submitted papers, and we will put the collection of papers together into an e-book after the conference. We are also very excited to host the first Harry Potter conference to take place in Ireland” she continued.
Some of the papers being delivered at the conference include: Jennifer Trieu, Trinity College Dublin, ‘Food and British National Identity in the Harry Potter Series’; Berry Eggen, Eindhoven University of Technology, ‘Humdrum Magic: Design Explorations into the Magic of Everyday Life’; Lucy Andrew, Cardiff University, ‘The Role of Free Will in the Creation of the Criminal Child in the Harry Potter Series’; Alice Nuttall, Oxford Books University, ‘Wand Privilege: Superiority and Inferiority in Wizarding Society’ and Breanna Mroczek, University of Alberta, ‘The Magic of Death in the Harry Potter Novels’.
The Conference is hosted by UL’s Department of Sociology in collaboration with UL’s Interaction Design Centre and the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.