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NUJS offers Harry Potter elective

The course titled "An interface between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special focus on Rowling's Potterverse" will be offered as an elective to the students of the 4th and the 5th year of the B.A LL.B (Hons.) programme in the winter semester(2018-19) by the faculty member Mr. Shouvik Kumar Guha.

The significance of the course lies in the fact that the young minds who have grown up reading and experiencing the inherent excitement and the plot twists of such fiction also represent the future and all over the world as they are the ones who take up the role of future leaders, thinkers and bringers of change, who are being exposed to the wealth of social values and cultural mores intrinsically posited within such literature. The literary work vividly exposes the limitations of laws and institutions wherein a government, for instances uses its representatives to torture children for lying (or even for daring to tell the truth), that imprisons or even executes its citizens without the benefit of due process of law, that designs its prisons in a manner that is intended to drive the inmates to despair and suicidal tendencies without any hope of reformation, that offers little in the way of democratic law-making process, that allows the wealthy to control and influence government policy, that curtails the freedom of the Press and uses the latter with impunity to spread its propaganda, that does not flinch before putting all its citizens under surveillance. Thereby it is of great importance for students to reflect on such a picture that Rowling paints of the government that is seen to reasonate with the readers as they could compare the situations with their own governments.

The course will be aiming to cover the following areas:

• Legal Traditions and Institutions in Potterverse (including role of law and rule of law in a magical society, moral choice and liberty in Potterverse and the role of bureaucracy in the Ministry of Magic)

• Crimes and Punishments in Potterverse (including Unforgivable Curses, Wizengamot Trials, Innocence of Sirius Black and Persecution of Tom Riddle)

• Morality, Social Values, Identity and Class Rights in Potterverse (including (human?) dignity and enslavement of House Elves, marginalization of Werewolves, Giants, Centaurs and Merpeople, Mudbloods and Squibs, militant literacy and misuse of texts)

• The Potterverse Economy (including Gringotts, magic of money and economic growth and entrepreneurship)

• Politics in Potterverse (including bases of authority, terror and counterterror, resistance, intelligence and secret societies)

• Contracts and Agency in Potterverse (including Unbreakable Vows, Agents of Good or Servants of Evil, express will and loyalty, Snape and the Order of Phoenix, Dumbledore’s Man through and through)

• Family in Potterverse (including blood relationship, familial ties, testamentary law)

• Miscellaneous (including Quidditch and sports law, religion and destiny, Rowling’s legal battles and reflections, philosophical significance of Potterverse characters, technological anarchism & the hi-tech, low-tech wizarding world, archetypes and stereotypes, from ‘Mars is Bright Tonight’ to Horcruxes in Faerie Land and ‘Just behind the Veil’: Influences of Dante, Edmund Spenser and George MacDonald on Potterverse)

We thank our faculty member Mr. Shovik Kumar Guha for offering this elective course that serves as a breather from the orthodox law school curriculum and a great opportunity for students to explore varied interests in law school.


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