One can learn a lot from the wizarding world of Harry Potter, as any Potter fan would be quick to tell you. J.K. Rowling wove lessons and themes regarding love, friendship, death, duty, and so many more into the pages of her hugely popular stories. Even the most dedicated fan of the Potter-verse would still be surprised, however, to discover that a college in India, Kolkata's West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), is teaching a full class on Harry Potter and its views on the legal system.
40 incredibly lucky students in their fourth and fifth years at the university will be allowed to enroll in the class, which will be taught by professor Shouvik Kumar Guha and last about 45 hours total. Guha described what the class would be focusing on:
If you look into the Harry Potter universe, there are a lot of views about the limitations of law and institutions, and it talks about a lot of things: an undemocratic form of government, a judiciary that is not independent, citizens being deprived of due process of law, and so on and so forth. There's many scenarios with which allegorical situations can be found in the real world.
Titled "An Interface between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law," Guha is hoping that observing legal concepts outside the context of our incredibly partisan culture will allow students on both sides of the aisle to draw insights they might not have been wiling to do in the real wold. Quartz India reports the class will also cover:
...the bureaucracy of the "Ministry of Magic"; crimes and punishments, notably the "Unforgivable Curses" and the "Wizengamot Trials"; social values, and class rights, especially the marginalisation of "Werewolves," "Giants," "Centaurs," "Mudbloods," and "Squibs."
In the course outline, Guha wrote:
The picture that Rowling paints of the government in Potterverse is not pretty, yet the critique that she aims at it in multiple levels, ranging from the functions of the government to its nature and the bureaucracy busy in running it, often resonates with the readers in comparison to their own governments in the real world. That is where the boundary between reality and magic begins to blur and that is perhaps one of the strongest appeals that Potterverse holds.
Guha was inspired to teach a Harry Potter class to try and impart creativity to his law students.
Our law school offers 50 intensive technical courses, but I thought we are not doing everything we can and should to encourage creative thinking in students.
The course outline warns students that they will have to either present their assignments in front of the class or perform 15 minutes of magic tricks. The end-of-semester exam is a must, however, and Guha warns it will not be easy. Though many other colleges have offered Harry Potter-based courses in the past, including Yale and and Indiana State, this is the first such program offered in India, whose universities are known for their traditional, conservative teaching style.
Twitter was incredibly excited to learn:
Nevertheless, Guha is incredibly surprised that the course has become a "sensation, both inside the university and beyond." But even though countless students have applied, only 40 will receive an owl-delivered letter saying they've been accepted to Professor Guha's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.