Why is the Harry Potter series a record-setting success story across the world? What great traditions and works inspired the saga? What lasting lessons and big ideas can we draw from it? Join award-winning scholar Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she considers the first three Harry Potter novels – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’s) Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban –through the lenses of literature, history, philosophy, and popular culture studies. Even if you’re a dedicated fan, there’s always more to discover!
No wand? No owl? No problem! Muggles and squibs are welcome as Mythgard Academy investigates the magical worlds and deeper meanings of the Harry Potter saga.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Chapters 1-10
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Chapters 11-17
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 1-11
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 12-18
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 1-12
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 13-22
What does it mean to be human? Are we alone? What wonders or terrors will tomorrow hold? Join award-winning scholar Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she explores the ways in which the literature of science fiction over time has asked the question: “What if?” This course will consider the development of the genre from “proto-SF” writings through the Golden Age, with an eye toward how the great works and movements within science fiction both reflect the concerns and attitudes of their time and imagine beyond them. Discover why author Ray Bradbury called science fiction “the most important literature in the history of the world.”
Science Fiction, Part I (Fall 2014)
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One: 1929-1964: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time - edited by Robert Silverberg
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two A: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time - edited by Ben Bova
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley*
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Jules Verne
We - Yevgeny Zamyatin*
The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury*
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Dune - Frank Herbert
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein
* linked title is strongly suggested edition
The intellectual sibling of science fiction, born of the same parents (the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revoltion), is what its father, Edgar Allan Poe, called “tales of ratiocination.” Poe created the first scientific detective, C. Auguste Dupin, who in turn paved the way for one of the most enduring and beloved literary characters of all time, Sherlock Holmes. This course focuses on Poe and Conan Doyle and how their works blended scientific method, mystery, and imagination to create the modern literature of detection. Students will consider why Sherlock Holmes remains an often revisited and reinterpreted character with remarkable resonance in our own time, and how the genre he helped to create and the literary descendants he inspired continue to question the idea of order in our universe and how we know what we (think we) know.
Sherlock, Science and Ratiocination (Fall 2013)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue - Edgar Allan Poe
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1 - Arthur Conan Doyle
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume 2 - Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock: Season One - DVD
In this course we will discuss the ancestors to the Harry Potter phenomenon, examine the specific works and traditions that inform the Harry Potter universe, study the Harry Potter texts in depth, and, perhaps most importantly, consider why the Harry Potter franchise has achieved unparalleled global popularity today. In the process, we will take both a theoretical and historical approach to popular culture in general and J.K. Rowling’s works in particular. Wizards, witches, squibs, and muggles are welcome as we get to the very heart of Harry Potter.
Taking Harry Seriously (Summer 2014)
Over the years, thinkers have used dystopias — stories of worlds gone wrong, of worst-case scenarios – to warn their contemporaries about what they viewed as dangerous trends in society and challenge their readers to make the world better. This class will consider a variety of historical and current “what if?” thought experiments, including classics such as 1984 and current bestsellers such as The Hunger Games. Students will explore the specific conditions that inspired these dystopias, the general warnings inherent in them, and the broad trends in dystopias over time.
The Dystopian Tradition (Summer 2013)
The Complete Metropolis (DVD)
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
1984 - George Orwell
The Space Merchants - Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth
Level 7 - Mordecai Roshwald
Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang - Kate Wilhelm
Blade Runner (The Director’s Cut) (DVD)
The Gate to Women’s Country - Sheri S. Tepper
Parable of the Sower - Octavia Butler
Feed - M.T. Anderson
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games Trilogy (optional boxed set)
The Gothic literary tradition began in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe and lives on in various forms across the globe through contemporary fiction, poetry, art, music, film, and television. Mad scientists, blasted heaths, abandoned ruins, elusive ghosts, charming vampires, and even little green men people its stories. With ingredients such as a highly developed sense of atmosphere, extreme emotions including fear and awe, and emphases on the mysterious and the paranormal, Gothic works tend to express anxieties about social, political, religious, and economic issues of the time, as well as rejection of prevailing modes of thought and behavior. This course will investigate the fascinating and subversive Gothic imagination (from the haunted castles of Horace Walpole to the threatening aliens of H.P. Lovecraft, from Dracula to Coraline), identify the historical conditions that have inspired it, consider how it has developed across time and place and medium, and explore how it has left its indelible imprint on the modern genres of science fiction and fantasy.
The Gothic Tradition (Spring 2014)
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
The Italian, or The Confession of the Black Penitents by Ann Radcliffe
The Portable Edgar Allan Poe
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Two Early Vampire Tales: John Polidori’s The Vampyre & J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
Millennium Season One
Doctor Who Season 3
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
El Orfanato (The Orphanage) directed by J.A. Bayona