CHASS Hosts First Ever Harry Potter: Historical Enchantments Event

November 3, 2023

UIW’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) contributed some magic to the fall season on campus by hosting a Harry Potter centered event. The event, formally known as Historical Enchantments: A Magical Journey Through Time, explored the Harry Potter book and film series as a pop culturally significant piece of media and how it relates to various academic disciplines offered at the University.

Dr. Michelle Tabit, associate professor of History at CHASS, teaches several history courses that explore pieces of pop culture such as Harry Potter, Star Trek, and social media. During the Fall 2023 semester while teaching her Harry Potter and History course, she proposed organizing such an event and her students were ecstatic at the idea. The course – along with other specialized History courses such as Gaming in History – aim to give UIW students an exposure into the complex issues and debates of the 21st century world, providing the historical context to understand the world in which we live.

Tabit and her students contributed an immense amount of planning and organizing prior to hosting this magical event. She explained that she wanted the experience to serve as an opportunity to bring students together to explore opportunities offered at CHASS by discussing popular culture and its connections to various academic disciplines.

Students from CHASS set up tables throughout the Student Engagement Center Ballroom to provide an interactive experience for attendees. Some gave presentations or devised creative games tying Harry Potter to their chosen field of study. Some of Tabit’s history students explored the impact of real-world historical propaganda, and how propaganda in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had similar societal effects. “These themes resonate with real-world issues related to media manipulation and the spread of misinformation, making the series relevant beyond its fictional world,” she explained.

Other departments found creative ways to connect with Harry Potter. The Psychology department used book texts to identify personality characteristics and disorders in the series’ characters, the music department demonstrated how the music of Harry Potter and simple movements together could help with recuperative therapy, and the sociology department set up a butterbeer pub with large tables to remind students of the importance of inclusivity. Even library staff members got involved by informing attendees on the importance of reading and the harmfulness of book bans.

“I believe that bringing our disciplines together demonstrates how we work together and can learn from each other in a fun and interactive way,” she shared.

Overall, Tabit’s favorite part of the event was greeting and bidding farewell to attendees. That is when she got to hear about how much they enjoyed and learned from the event. In addition, she recognizes the efforts of her students were ultimately what brought this magical experience to life.

“I am very proud of my students and their hard work. Without their energy and dedication, this event would not have been possible.”