Call for Papers: The Theological World of Harry Potter

Call for Papers: The Theological World of Harry Potter

Editors: Taylor J. Ott (Fordham University) and Shaun Brown (Villa Maria College) 

Theology and Pop Culture is currently seeking contributions for an edited

volume from Rowman and Littlefield on the intersection of theology and Harry Potter. Essays should prioritize the books but may include or concentrate on the films, Fantastic Beasts, or The Cursed Child if appropriate. Essays should be written for academics, but avoid “jargon” to be accessible for the layperson. Contributions may be written from the perspective of any religious tradition.

With 500 million books sold worldwide, the Harry Potter series has defined a generation. Twelve years after the release of the final installment of the books and nine years after the last film, there is still continued interest in the series, evidenced by the success of the Fantastic Beasts series, productions of The Cursed Child, the History of Magic exhibition, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Even more profound is the impact of the series’ thematic content in the areas of theology, spirituality, and morality. Despite recurrent controversies over the “danger” of the series, mainly from Christian corners, others continue to find theological meaning in The Boy Who Lived. The popularity of theological analysis underlines a hunger for thoughtful discourse as well as the theological, ethical, and spiritual depths of a series that tackles issues of class, power, sacrifice, the moral status of non-human beings, and evil. 

To that end, we seek to bring together a collection of essays that critically engages the ways in which theology and Harry Potter speak to each other. Possible topics for an edited volume might include, but are certainly not limited to:

    • Theological anthropology and magical beings
    • Theological economic ethics and class in the wizarding world
    • Harry and Christology
    • Magical blood status and race
    • Love as the deepest and most ancient magic
    • Depictions of characters’ religious traditions
    • Hermione and feminist theology
    • S.P.E.W. and a theology of activism
    • The Order of the Phoenix and political resistance
    • A theology of friendship and the D.A.
    • Liberation theologies and house elves
    • Postcolonial analysis and centaurs
    • Historical theology and historical sources in Harry Potter
    • Theology and werewolves
    • Paganism and pagan influences
    • Divergence in the types of evil seen in characters such as Voldemort, Umbridge, Draco
    • Severus Snape and conversion
    • Fawkes, phoenixes and the theological imagination
    • Animal ethics and Care of Magical Creatures

Abstracts of 300-700 words, along with a CV or resume, should be sent to shauncbrown@yahoo.com and tott@fordham.edu by January 15. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by February 1, with accepted essays due by July 1.

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