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Friday, July 8 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Keynote Lunch: Morality from Harry Potter to the Real World

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While characters like Dumbledore, Snape, and Harry were created for an imaginary world, their impact extends far beyond it. Fans look to these characters as models and inspiration for how to live their own lives. But these characters are not simple archetypes, or one dimensional figures.  They are complex, changing, and often morally ambiguous people; in other words, they are human.  So how do real fans read morality and ethics in these series and apply it to their own lives?  Why are so many adamant about reading Snape, perhaps the most morally complex character, as “good”, or at least redeemable? How do questions of representation and visibility of marginalized groups within Potter impact diversity and understanding?

This panel will address how and why morality and ethics move from the page into real life. Panelists will discuss how the series inspires fans to activism in real world issues.  They will look at how different characters engage with and provide models for various moral structures. They will discuss the value of Potter as a source for morality, and debate its potential problems and contentions. Join these scholars, activists, and experts for a lively conversation on what it means to be a fan in an era of controversy and cultural change.

avatar for Jodie Vann

Jodie Vann

Chair of Academic Programming
Jodie is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology of Religion, currently residing in Arizona.  Her current academic work focuses on the "spiritual, but not religious" movement, and ways in which people create meaningful lives outside of traditional religious structures.  She teaches... Read More →


Morgan Howard

Morgan holds a M.Ed. in English as well as an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School where her academic research centered on queer and gender issues in North American religious communities. She discovered Harry Potter shortly after the publication of Prisoner of Azkaban and has, in particular... Read More →
avatar for Janae Phillips

Janae Phillips

Director of Leadership and Education, Harry Potter Alliance
Janae Phillips is a multimedia storyteller focused on finding the through lines that connect us all. In a decade of work as a trainer and organizer, including five years as the Director of Leadership and Education at the Harry Potter Alliance, she has worked with thousands of the... Read More →
avatar for Chris Rankin

Chris Rankin

Chris Rankin played Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, and is a fan favorite in HP fandom and at conventions. Chris’s professional acting career kicked off in 2000 when he won the role of Percy, whom he played in five of the eight HP films. A huge HP fan both before and... Read More →
avatar for Eric Scull

Eric Scull

Eric Scull is a co-host of the long-running Harry Potter podcast "MuggleCast" since its start in August of 2005. Appearing on over 700 podcast episodes including MuggleCast, Alohomora!, Game of Owns, The Cinescope Podcast, and producing podcasts Improvised Star Trek and HR unConfidential... Read More →

Friday July 8, 2016 12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT
Grand Ballroom I