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Now a course on `Harry Potter` at Durham University

Updated: Aug 20, 2010, 15:19 PM IST

London: `Harry Potter` fans now have the chance to study about their favourite teen wizard as Durham University has introduced a one of its kind course on the popular character.

However, there will be no flying lessons, potions or defence-against-the-dark-arts classes as the module will focus on "social, cultural and educational context" of the Potter mania, the Guardian reported.

Around 70 undergraduate students have already signed up to the module `Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion`, which will be offered for the first time this autumn as part of the university`s Education Studies BA degree.

From the first Potter novel, `Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone, in 1997, the character created by British author JK Rowling has become a global rage amongst the youth with the seven titles selling more than 400 million copies and being translated into 67 languages.

The new course will require undergraduates to see the series "in its social, cultural and educational context and understand some of the reasons for its popularity", and to consider Harry Potter`s relevance to today`s education system.

The registrar of Durham University, Carolyn Fowler, called it a "serious but innovative" academic module.

"A huge amount of work has gone into developing it, and we are extremely excited to be offering it as a study option to our undergraduate students, who have already expressed a high level of interest," Fowler said.

She however, believes the Durham course is "the first, or among the first, module of its kind in a UK university".

The course will explore issues such as "prejudice and intolerance, peer pressure, good citizenship and ideals of adulthood, ways in which the Harry Potter series has helped to rebrand Britain".

"Harry Potter is a culturally iconic phenomenon and has already been the subject of many well-regarded academic studies over recent years, so it is only fitting that a leading university like Durham responds to new developments in our academic and wider social and cultural environment in developing new modules like this," said Fowler.

Through 2010, the first six books have been made into films by Warner Brothers. The seventh book `Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows` is being made into two movies which are scheduled to be released in two parts.

PTI