HPEF presents Infinitus 2010, a Harry Potter conference            TEXT  MENU

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July 15-18, 2010
Orlando, Florida

Orientalism and the Wizarding World
Jack Harrison  

Significant work has already been done on the representation of various minority identities in the Harry Potter series including race, gender, and class. Building on that and the writings in Harry Potter and International Relations, I am proposing a lecture on Orientalism and the Wizarding World.

With my three anchors in academia, activism and fandom, I will first introduce the concept of Orientalism as originally proposed by Edward Said as a way of thinking about Western representations of "Eastern" cultures from Morocco to Japan. Second, I will explore two examples of how this enables a specific critique of the Harry Potter franchise – Cho Chang's name and ethnic heritage and the geographic spread of magic carpet sales as detailed in Quidditch Through the Ages. Finally, I will explore the implications of this analysis for explorations of the broader Wizarding World in our fan-created media.

J. Harrison is currently a graduate student at Georgetown University's program in Communication, Culture and Technology, where he is focusing on fan interaction with popular media. He is the current Vaid Research Fellow with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. In his spare time, Jack is active with Lambda Scifi, a DC area LGBT science-fiction and fantasy organization, and he writes a biweekly column called "Gay Geekery" for thenewgay.net. He identifies himself as queer, Latino, and biracial as well as being a geek.
Formal Programming