Oberlin Blogs

The Harry Potter ExCo: A Preview

November 8, 2011

Alanna Bennett ’13

November means many things for Oberlin: the typical college leaf piles, a strange flip-flopping in the weather from early-fall-crispness into Winter Is Coming ominousness.

It also means that ExCo applications are due.

ExCos are, in my opinion, one of Oberlin's best traditions. As Oberlin students we naturally tend to over-extend ourselves; it's something we can't seem to help. ExCos allow us to add another class (or class-let, as I like to call them) to our schedule, but also learn about some fun new hobby or activity or movement while we're at it. I have taken part in an ExCo every semester since my arrival here; I've taken two and taught three. In case you're interested, here's the list:

Chosen: The Buffy the Vampire Slayer ExCo
Murder Mysteries in the US & UK

The Harry Potter ExCo ("HexCo")
Laugh Track: The Sitcom ExCo
Musicals of the Stage and Screen

I took this semester off in terms of teaching ExCos, instead opting to "re-take" (or rather, audit) Murder Mysteries again, as it's taught by one of my close friends and goes over new material every semester.

This month, however, I am getting back into swing of ExCo teaching: Though I have taught the Harry Potter ExCo before, my former co-instructor graduated last Spring. Luckily for me a lot of people at this school seem very invested in the idea of teaching a class about Harry Potter. With a new co-instructor, though, comes a slight re-tooling of the class; Especially with something as iconic and life-changing for our generation as Harry Potter, the ways that people approach the books and the fandom surrounding it can change a lot from person to person. To me, that's one of the best things about it, and re-tooling the syllabus to reflect even more of these different perspectives is a really cool way to keep the ExCo fresh as I go into another semester of teaching it.

Here's a little preview of the revised HexCo syllabus:

WEEK ONE: Introductions, and Laying the Groundwork of Identity

WEEK TWO: Friendship, the Trio, and the Marauder Era

WEEK THREE: Fandom and the Role of Fan-Fiction as Supplementary Material

WEEK FOUR: Bravery, Evil, and the Role of Death in the Series

WEEK FIVE: Dumbledore, Voldemort, and Political Allegory in the Series

WEEK SIX: Snape, and the Order of the Phoenix

WEEK SEVEN: Romance and Teen Angst

WEEK EIGHT: Innocence, and Coming of Age in the Harry Potter Series

WEEK NINE: Book & Movie 3: Prisoner of Azkaban

WEEK TEN: The Translation from Books to Movies

WEEK ELEVEN: Re-Examining the Hero's Journey

WEEK TWELVE: Harry Potter and the Fandom, Part 2: The End of an Era?

One of the awesome things about all this is that I heard a little while ago that the ExCo Committee has officially approved us as a class for next semester! So basically there's no getting rid of us now.

We had a ton of fun with the class when I taught it with my friend Hope last Spring. So let's make it another amazing Spring, ok?

Similar Blog Entries