In this course, we’ll read and discuss all seven of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels with the aim of deepening our understanding of the genre of the novel, in general, and of the young adult novel, in particular. We will also study at least in an introductory way the practice of literary criticism. Finally, we’ll begin to explore cultural studies and critical theory as they are engaged in the field of English Studies. None of these areas of study should preclude having fun together. If you’re worried that you don’t know anything about literary or critical theory or cultural studies, don’t be. Your job is to be open, curious, and invested in learning and my job is to teach you. There should be a place in the course for those of you who are fans as well as those of you who are Muggles (just kidding). My hope is that we will all learn more and better how much our enjoyment of the Harry Potter books is an effect of the quality of Rowling’s craft as a writer, as well as how much our tendency to read over the flaws in the books, their cracks or broken places is an effect of the cultures, ideologies, and material conditions that shape our lives as readers.