Hermione Granger Saves the World is a proposed interdisciplinary, multi-contributor volume born of a series of conversations with students in my Privilege and Oppression in Contemporary Media course.
I discovered an interesting trend: whenever I encounter someone that is struggling to understand what real-world, modern feminism means in contemporary Western society, I use Hermione Granger of the ‘Harry Potter’ series as an exemplar. Feminism can be conceptually difficult to grasp, especially for young people and those for whom feminism has been misunderstood and demonized by popular media and political punditry. For many young readers (and for a fair few adults, as well), both male and female, Hermione will be the first “real” feminist they ever experience. She is clearly not the only model for feminism, nor is she necessarily the best model, but she is a clear and accessible model and thus a useful one. Hermione Granger serves as an outstanding example of what one particular style of modern young feminism looks like: activist, powerful and full of agency, yet feminine, romantic and stylish – a new kind of feminism for a new kind of girl. For these emerging young women, as Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards note in their fantastic ‘Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future’, “feminism is like fluoride. [they] scarcely notice that [they] have it – it’s simply in the water” (17).
Our young, emergent feminist Hermione Granger is a pivotal character upon whom the entire series rests – that burden is not carried by Harry Potter solely. It is Hermione who solves almost every difficult puzzle, performs almost every difficult spell, and to whom her two male companions consistently look for guidance and advice. Quite literally, on several occasions throughout the series, Hermione Granger saves the world through her actions. This is an exceptional and accessible model for young women (and for young men as well) who are confused about how feminism manifests and operates in 2010.
Themes for discussion may include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Hermione in relationship to third-wave feminism, post-feminism and Girlie feminism
- Hermione as activist
- Hermione as scholar
- Hermione’s role in The Trio
- Hermione’s as bridge between the magical and Muggle worlds
- Emma Watson/“Movie Hermione”
- Hermione Granger’s place in the history of literary Hermiones
- Hermione and archetypes
Other themes will be considered as they relate to the overall theme of the collected work.
Proposals from any academic discipline will be considered. Emerging and early career scholars are encouraged to submit. Final papers should be no longer than 30 pages, including references, and should be scholarly in nature yet accessible in language and tone.
For consideration, please submit an abstract/proposal of no more than 500 words to Dr. Christopher Bell, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstracts/proposals should be sent as Word Document attachments, and should include the author(s)’s name, affiliation, title and email contact information. Abstracts/proposals should be submitted no later than January 28, 2011. Final papers will be due April 1, 2011.