Cultural Politics in Harry Potter
Life, Death and the Politics of Fear
Cultural Politics in Harry Potter: Life, Death and the Politics of Fear is the first book-length analysis of topics, such as death, fear and biopolitics in J.K. Rowling’s work from controversial and interdisciplinary perspectives. This collection brings together recent theoretical and applied cultural studies and focuses on three key areas of inquiry: (1) wizarding biopolitics and intersected discourses; (2) anxiety, death, resilience and trauma; and (3) the politics of fear and postmodern transformations. As such, this book:
- provides a comprehensive overview of national and gender discourses, as well as the transiting bodies in-between, in relation to the Harry Potter books series and related multimedia franchise;
- situates the transformative power of death within the fandom, transmedia and film depictions of the Potterverse and critically deconstructs the processes of subjectivation and legitimation of death and fear;
- examines the strategies and mechanisms through which cultural and political processes are managed, as well as reminding us how fiction and reality intersect at junctions, such as terrorism, homonationalism, materialism, capitalism, posthumanism and technology.
Exploring precisely what is cultural about wizarding politics, and what is political about culture, this book is key reading for students of contemporary literature, media and culture, as well as anyone with an interest in the fictional universe and wizarding world of Harry Potter.
Table of Contents
List of Contributors
Note on the Text
PART 1. Wizarding (Bio)politics and Intersected Discourses
1. The Chosen One(s): Ethnic Election and Contemporary English National Identity in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.
2. Squibs, Disability and Having a Place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
3. A Magic Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Luna Lovegood and the Concept of Postfeminism.
4. "Like an Old Tale": Art and Transformation in the Harry Potter Novels and The Winter’s Tale.
PART 2. Death Culture, Trauma and Anxiety
5. Death Sells: Relatable Death in the Harry Potter Novels.
6. The Last Enemy: Harry Potter and Western Anxiety about Death.
7. "A Story About How Humans Are Frightened of Death": Harry Potter, Death and the Cultural Imagination.
8. Arthur, Harry and the Late Mother: From T.H. White to J.K. Rowling.
9. King’s Cross: Harry Potter and the Transformative Power of Pain and Suffering.
10. When Spares are Spared: Innocent Bystanders and Survivor’s Guilt in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
11. Death Culture, Literary References and Postmodern Sacred Elements in Harry Potter as a Transmedia Franchise.
12. Death and How to Deal With it in the Harry Potter Series.
PART 3. Trauma, the Politics of Fear and Postmodern Transformations
13. Al-Qa'ida and the Horcruxes: Quests for Immortality by Violent Extremist Organizations and Lord Voldemort.
14. Gender, Sexuality and the War on Terror in Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
15. Magic as Technological Utopia? Unpacking Issues of Interactivity and Infrastructuring in the Potterverse.
16. Flirting with Posthumanist Technologies in Harry Potter: Overconsumption of a Good Thing – Technology as Magic.
Rubén Jarazo-Álvarez is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain. He teaches Cultural and Media Studies. His research comprises British tele-fantasy, sci-fi and Anglophone cultures in Spain.
Pilar Alderete-Diez is a Lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She teaches language, translation and interpreting, and modern children’s literature and film. She completed an MA (Spanish) on the translation of humour and character voice in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2005.
"This book extends previous scholarly analysis of Rowling’s work to new canon like the Cursed Child play and Fantastic Beasts film, while also addressing unexplored and important topics such as the War on Terror and trauma. It is a welcome and important addition to the field."
Cathy Leogrande, Le Moyne College