Science Fiction and Multiraciality: From Octavia Butler to Harry Potter

Posted in Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2013-12-14 13:56Z by Steven

Science Fiction and Multiraciality: From Octavia Butler to Harry Potter

Brooklyn Historical Society
Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
Saturday, 2013-12-14, 14:00-17:00 EST (Local Time)

How do science fiction narratives investigate questions about identity, racism, and fear?

Join us for a fun, interactive presentation and dialogue about mixed-race identity in the Harry Potter franchise, the legacy of African-American sci-fi author Octavia Butler, and the role of the imaginary in destabilizing oppression and re-envisioning multiracial community.

We will be debunking myths, talking back to popular sci-fi movies and stories, and exploring new possibilities for racial justice through imagination. We will explore racial elements of popular fictional universes, participate in collective storytelling, and we encourage dressing up as your favorite sci-fi character!

Presenters include: Eric Hamako from University of Massachusetts Amherst on Harry Potter and the Mistaken Myth of the Mixed-Race Messiah, and Walidah Imarisha, Co-Editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements.

This event is co-sponsored by the Harry Potter Alliance and

For more information, click here.

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Harry Potter and the mistaken myth of the Mixed-Race messiah

Posted in Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2013-01-14 03:27Z by Steven

Harry Potter and the mistaken myth of the Mixed-Race messiah

Paper presented at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
6 pages

Eric Hamako
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The Harry Potter franchise has worldwide popularity. Contained within Harry Potter are popular stories about Mixed-Race, both appealing and toxic. Harry Potter and other science fiction and fantasy narratives attempt to address popular anxieties about racism and racial power. But what are they saying? Will vigorous hybrid messiahs herald racial salvation? Will degenerate hybrid monsters cause a racial apocalypse? In this paper, I explore White Supremacist and Christian Supremacist ideas about Mixed-Race prevalent in current science fiction & fantasy movie franchises, such as Harry Potter, and why people shouldn’t believe the hybrid hype… or the hate.

Read the entire paper here.

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Psychology Major Publishes Analysis of Racial Dynamics in the Wizarding World

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-12-30 02:27Z by Steven

Psychology Major Publishes Analysis of Racial Dynamics in the Wizarding World

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Department of Psychology

Jordan Pye

When a fan asked her about the political allegories in her book series, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling said, “I wanted Harry to leave our world and find exactly the same problems in the wizarding world.”

By exploring this idea, one senior psychology student, Christina Thai, put her love for Harry Potter to use in a comparison of how societies perceive people of mixed racial backgrounds. Her work will be published in “A Wizard of Their Age: Critical Essays from the Harry Potter Generation,” a compilation by students who applied concepts in the series to their own fields of study. Thai’s chapter is called “Harry Potter and Blood Status: A Psychological Look at Blood Stratification in the Wizarding World,” which she compares the racial dynamics in Harry Potter’s wizarding world to the historical relationship between European Americans and African Americans in the United States…

…Thai, a native of Fairfax, Va. with a second major in biology, found inspiration for the topic during her first semester of research in the Cultural and Racial Diversity Studies lab with Dr. Matthew Lee. After studying racial identity and discrimination, Thai built upon alumnus Candace Vanderpoel’s honors thesis research on hypodescent among African Americans and Asians. This concept is the belief that a bi-racial person has both minority and majority race heritage, but their minority identity overshadows their majority status, so their community considers them a minority.

Thai translated this idea to social hierarchy in the Harry Potter series, where witches and wizards of “pure blood” descent have a higher status than Muggles, who have no magical heritage, and the “mudbloods,” who have a mix of wizard and Muggle parents. Harry himself had a wizard father and a witch mother who was born a Muggle. Thai mainly focused on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series where Voldemort assumes power of the Ministry of Magic and enacts laws that promote pure blood status and discriminate against Muggles and mudbloods…

Read the entire article here.

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