Magical Class

Introducing Kent State’s most magical class, based on one of fiction’s most magical characters: Harry Potter.

No, professor Vera Camden won’t be teaching spells, potions or charms — but themes, characters and conflict.

The three-credit course, which begins in the spring, will cover all seven of J.K. Rowling’s novels about a boy thrust into the world of wizardry. Unsurprisingly, it will be heavy on reading, but Camden said she expects most of the students to be familiar with the books.

“One of the pleasures of this course is that the students often know the text better than I do,” she said. “Many of the students have essentially memorized the text.”

The class will move through the series chronologically, beginning with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and ending with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Camden said the class will discuss the many psychological themes behind the novels, including the theme of trauma and how the characters overcome it.

“One of the really core reasons the novels are successful is they really speak to childhood suffering, and how children experience suffering, and then the emergence of a victorious self,” Camden said.

Camden refers to protagonist Harry Potter and his constant struggle to defeat his parents’ murderer and his Muggle family. Potter’s family problems are relatable, Camden said.

Camden said this is the first time she’s taught Harry Potter as a “mega-course,” though she taught a similar class over the summer with fewer people. They also discussed the books psychoanalytically, she said.

Her course is currently full, with around 70 students registered. Camden said students e-mailed her after it hit capacity, begging to get in.

“I’ve taken it to overload already,” Camden said.

One such student was Sabrina Simms, sophomore fashion merchandising major.

“I live for Harry Potter. I’m currently making a Hogwarts uniform for the premiere,” Simms said of Friday’s release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” the first of two movie adaptations of the last book.

Simms said she planned her schedule around Camden’s course and was crushed when she couldn’t register.

She e-mailed Camden and was allowed to enroll.

“I about fell out of my chair,” Simms said.

You can contact Taylor Rogers at [email protected].