Nine Millikin University students learned real-life lessons during winter break by immersing themselves in the culture of Harry Potter, a journey that included a visit to London to experience "The Making of Harry Potter" at Warner Bros. Studio – London, and a visit to Orlando, Fla., to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a themed area spanning two theme parks at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Ngozi Onuora, Millikin assistant professor of education, and Molly Berry, director of the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement, led the course for the first time as part of the January immersion curriculum.
Called "Mudbloods, Muggles & Misfits: Power & Prejudice in the Harry Potter Series," the class began meeting once a month starting in September 2015 to have discussions about the books and to draw connections with themes of power and prejudice. As part of their course studies, the students examined a current global issue of their choice and made a case for how its root cause was connected to power and prejudice.
Among the stops in London were Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. "The idea was not just talking about the books and connecting power and prejudice, but actually seeing the land that Harry Potter was imagined in, walking through the streets of London, and being immersed in the experienced," said Berry.
During their visit to Warner Bros. Studio, Cortez C'airra, a junior biology major from Alsip, Ill., said she "was able to feel the powerful energy of years of hard work and dedication throughout the building. Being able to see every single detail and piece of work put into the films was just the greatest experience."
Each student created a blog to share their views on how power and prejudice are portrayed in the Harry Potter series. The students also reflected on how the themes of power and prejudice affect them and what their responsibilities as democratic citizens in a global environment should be in similar situations in the real world.
Onuora noted, "What we wanted to do was a global studies class and move the students outside of their neighborhood, outside of what was happening in America, and look at power and prejudice and issues that were more global. The key is making the connection from what's happening in the books to what's happening in the world."
Click here to read more about the Harry Potter immersion course in an article from the Herald & Review.