Durham University Harry Potter

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Durham University Harry Potter

Department: Education


TypeOpenLevel2Credits20AvailabilityAvailable in 2013/14Module CapNone.LocationDurham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • to place the phenomenon that is Harry Potter™ in its social, cultural and educational context and understand some of the reasons for its popularity;
  • to consider the relevance of Harry Potter to the education system in the twenty-first century;
  • to understand twenty-first century education in the light that the Harry Potter series, and other educational fiction, casts on it;
  • to make explicit connections between Harry Potter and citizenship education.


  • The content will explore a number of key themes, including:
  • Home and away: the shock of education
  • Post-1945 as the Age of Illusion
  • Harry Potter and the remaking of England
  • Welcome to Hogwarts: the commodification of education. The sign replaces the thing – a reassuring world of uniforms, gowns and rituals
  • Gryffindor and Slytherin: prejudice and intolerance in the classroom
  • Anarchy and rebellion from Tom Brown to Harry Potter
  • Myths and models: the power of educational examples
  • Muggles and magic: the escape from the treadmill and the recovery of enchantment.
  • Magic, reason and reality
  • The peer group: bullying, friendship and solidarity
  • Ideals of manhood: courage, ingenuity and integrity
  • ‘My station and its duties’: Harry Potter and the good citizen
  • The moral universe of the school. J.K. Rowling and the legacy of the school story from Rudyard Kipling to Grange Hill

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a knowledge and understanding of the main features of the Harry Potter texts;
  • an awareness and understanding that the written word can be interpreted through a number of other mediums; e.g., films, and web-based material;
  • an awareness of the social and cultural background contributing to the continuing Harry Potter phenomenon;
  • the ability to see connections between fiction and education policy, and the influence fiction has on educational policy;
  • a developing ability critically to analyse educational policy concepts, theories and issues in a systematic way;
  • an ability to problematise reality as a social construct.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • reflect on their own value systems and personal development;
  • question concepts and theories encountered in their studies of education;
  • provide a well-argued conclusion relating to significant education issues, including the acquisition of social, moral spiritual and cultural values;
  • utilise a range of relevant primary and secondary sources, including theoretical and research-based evidence relating to education, in order to expound and defend a thesis;
  • analyse complex situations concerning learning and development in particular contexts, including making reference to their own learning.
Key Skills:
  • think critically and independently;
  • analyse, synthesise, evaluate and identify problems and solutions;
  • identify, select, interpret and evaluate a range of sources; and so acquire complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way;
  • construct and sustain a reasoned argument;
  • communicate effectively with appropriate use of specialist vocabulary;
  • use ICT and a variety of library and IT resources;
  • develop study and research skills, information retrieval, and the capacity to plan and manage learning, and to reflect on own learning;
  • work to deadlines

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students will be introduced to a range of analytical techniques relating to the central issues and core themes under study through lectures, seminars and tutorials.
  • Students will be required to prepare for the seminars and tutorials by identifying, selecting, interpreting and evaluating a range of sources; and engaging in debate.
  • Students will further develop and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of core themes and their acquisition of key skills through seminar presentations and formative and summative assessments.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Lectures22Weekly1 hour22
Seminars11Fortnightly1 hour11
Preparation and Reading167

Summative Assessment

Component: AssignmentComponent Weighting: 50%
ElementLength / durationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
Assignment2000 words100%
Component: ExaminationComponent Weighting: 50%
ElementLength / durationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
Examination2 hours100%

Formative Assessment:

Oral presentations to be given during student-led tutorials.