2020 has been a year of pivoting to virtual formats, and that's exactly what Chestnut Hill College did this year for the 9th Annual Harry Potter Academic Conference. Conference co-founders, Dr. Karen Wendling and Dr. Patrick McCauley, along with the hundreds of conference attendees, moved to Zoom for the two-day virtual event, which featured a diverse group of speakers and Potter scholars from all over the world.
Annually, this conference, born out of the classroom and a love of Potter fiction, provides a forum for scholarly presentations arising from J.K. Rowling's texts. These interdisciplinary presentations focus on textual analyses, the study of literary themes as they relate to specific academic disciplines, and the larger effect of Harry Potter on popular culture. The conference also encourages submissions from graduate students, undergraduates, and high school students.
Each year, the conference sponsors featured speakers and a plenary lecture. The 2020 conference's plenary lecture was given by Dr. Timothy Snyder (Yale University), bestselling author of "On Tyranny" and "Our Malady." Dr. Snyder's lecture, which you can watch in full below, was particularly relevant considering 2020 was a presidential election year.
Updates from the conference are available at harrypotterconference.com