This program is part of Booth Library’s fall exhibit and program series, “Twenty Years of Harry Potter: Celebrating a Phenomenon.” The exhibit will be on display at the library from Sept. 14 through Dec. 31, 2017.
For more information on this exhibit and program series, click here.
Dark Arts and Other Wicked Ideas: Harry Potter, Banned Books and Intellectual Freedom
Presented by Michele McDaniel, reference librarian, and Ryan McDaniel, instructor of communication studies
Come explore intellectual freedom during Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-30) with this enchanted perspective inspired by Harry Potter.
Identifying certain ideas as dangerous – and therefore banned or otherwise restricted – is a perennial phenomenon, manifesting throughout every time and culture. When reading the Harry Potter series, one encounters the Restricted Section in the Hogwarts Library, where the reader is informed that books about the Dark Arts and how to defend oneself against them are found. However, only those sufficiently matured and prepared may read the restricted materials, and then only under the close supervision and guidance of a wiser wizard. The very name of the highest master and practitioner of these Dark Arts is not to be spoken, but only referenced by means of circumlocutions like, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Your speakers will examine the broader topic of intellectual freedom through the lens of the Harry Potter series. Ryan McDaniel will offer some historical background and context for considering this theme in the Western cultural tradition. From the trial and execution of Socrates, to the Papal Index of Prohibited Books, to irreplaceable collections of Jewish books going up in flames during the Renaissance: Ryan will share a tale that, at times, can feel just as harrowing as the tale of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Michele McDaniel will then pick up the topic as she examines the problem of intellectual freedom in the Harry Potter series, book challenges in school and public libraries (including challenges posed to the Harry Potter series itself), and the role of libraries in protecting intellectual freedom.
Ryan McDaniel has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Communication Studies at EIU since 2007. A proud alum, Ryan has earned four degrees from Eastern, including B.A. degrees in communication studies and philosophy, and M.A. degrees in communication studies and history. He also holds an M.A. in theology from the Aquinas Institute of Theology, an M.Div. from Luther Rice Seminary and University, and has studied religion as a postgraduate student at Princeton Theological Seminary. Most recently, he has pursued doctoral studies in religion and rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as Nashotah House Theological Seminary. In addition to his service at EIU, Ryan McDaniel is an ordained priest of the Orthodox Church, serving as a chaplain in the Illinois Air National Guard.