Picture this: little Aimee B., fresh out of highschool, first year at Newcastle University (great uni, by the way).
I was enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts degree wondering what on Earth I was good for. I couldn’t pick a major just yet, so I chose from the Liberal Arts faculty of subjects the way I would a box of chocolates – one of each flavour. Partway through my Politics 101 subject I realised it just wasn’t for me, and began to agonise in advance over the slim pickings available in Semester Two. I’d already argued the existence of God and nature versus nurture in ‘Philosophy’; watched movie greats such as The Seventh Seal in ‘Film Studies’; yawned through ‘Rome to the Gracchi’; and compared Kate Bush’s wonderful warblings on tape to Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights in ‘The Romantic Age’.
I felt as if my degree had nothing further to offer me…I was well and truly lost.
And I hadn’t realised I had been agonising out loud about the decisions for next semester when a girl in my ‘Myth and Antiquity in Ancient Greece’ class turned to me and drawled : “You DO know you can study witchcraft in third year, don’t you?”
My head went into a spin of ruby red-shoes and tornado-spun houses landing on shapely green legs…I cackled into the air and felt that I needn’t worry about my future anymore – my path was clear.
But the dreams of youth are often lost into the ether…by the end of the year, I had moved to Canberra to study something MUCH more interesting and not boring at all: Law (har-har), but I have often had a Sliding Doors moment where I wonder “what if?”
Chances are that the course would have been a relatively mild look at the Salem witchcraft trials…but there’s always that possibility that I would’ve learned a totally rad spell or two. Maybe even take over the world. So when I see this article, I almost scream in delight. Turns out Durham University in the UK is giving me a second chance at world domination.
The study of the Harry Potter story is nothing new, of course. Colleges in the U.S.A. have been offering seminars for years, and not just in literary areas. Young American politicians may already be debating the advantages of Voldemort’s political party in a hung parliament scenario, or Sciencemongers dissecting unicorns in Biology could be on the cliff-edge of a cure for some currently incurable disease.
[Do they pull names out of a Sorting Hat, I wonder?]
Yet never before has a course been so incredibly specific to Harry Potter, offering such syllabus points as:
*Welcome to Hogwarts: the commodification of education. The sign replaces the thing – a reassuring world of uniforms, gowns and rituals;
*Muggles and magic: the escape from the treadmill and the recovery of enchantment, and;
*‘My station and its duties’: Harry Potter and the good citizen.
Wowww. I am starry-eyed, to say the least. And I’ve always been a Ravenclaw gal, as I may have said once or twice before. I NEED to study…and what could be better than studying the ins and outs of Hogwarts itself?
Now, I wonder if they offer off-campus correspondence courses…