First Year Seminar: Muggle Studies
In the fictional, magical world of Harry Potter, muggles are non-magic individuals who fascinate those in the magical world because of their odd way of life. Having lived with muggles for most of his life, Harry Potter does not see muggle life as strange until he enters the magical world. In this course, we will explore our own culture as Harry Potter does the muggle culture, seeing the strange in the familiar. We will use portions of the books and movies of the Harry Potter series to guide our own analysis of culture. Our analysis will help gain important insights into why we do the things we do, how our culture shapes our views of others, and how others might see us.
“A Muggle, it’s what we call nonmagic fold like them. An’ it’s your bad luck you grew up in a family o’ the biggest Muggles I ever laid eyes on.” –Rubeus Hagrid, Sorcerer’s Stone
“What exactly is the function of the rubber duck?” –Arthur Weasley, Chamber of Secrets (film)
“…but I don’t know anything about magic at all” “Don’ you worry, Harry. You’ll learn fast enough. Everyone starts at the beginning at Hogwarts, you’ll be just fine.” –Harry Potter & Rubeus Hagrid, Sorcerer’s Stone
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Explain the components of human culture and provide examples of these from literature, media, and real life.
- Compare and contrast different cultures using examples from fiction and non-fiction sources
- Analyze how culture shapes identity, personal experience, group interaction, and societal structures
- Critically examine the aspects of culture they take for granted and how these shape their self-perception, their world view, and their perceptions of other individuals and groups
- Compose a well-formulated and well-supported analysis of culture using good writing techniques and mechanics in a standard format and citation style (MLA; APA; or ASA).
Refection essays with rubrics