Harry Potter and Childhood Studies

An Open Seminar from the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies

  • Wed 30 Jan 19

    17:00 - 18:30

  • Colchester Campus

    LTB 10

  • Event speaker

    Margaret Rustin and Micheal Rustin, The Tavistock Clinic

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of

  • Contact details

    Debbie Stewart

While J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter stories might seem to be merely fantastic, with their cast of wizards, witches, Dark Lords, and magical spells, our suggestion is that they have a serious emotional core, and that it is this as much as their powerful elements of fantasy that explain why children become so deeply involved with them.

It is significant that Harry Potter, and several other major characters in the stories, have extremely troubled childhood histories. We shall suggest  that the stories represent ways in which the difficulties arising from such histories are experienced in the inner worlds of these characters, and that the stories can be understood as imaginative representations of different kinds of childhood and adolescent development. 

“There is no shame in what you are feeling, Harry,' said Dumbledore's voice. 'On the contrary... the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength.”

Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order Of the Phoenix

The Speakers

Margaret Rustin is a Child Psychotherapist and Child Analyst who has worked at the Tavistock Clinic throughout her career.  Michael Rustin is a Professor of Sociology at the University of East London, and a Visiting Professor at the Tavistock and at the University of Essex.  They are joint authors of Narratives of Love and Loss: Studies in Modern Children's Fiction, and of Mirror to Nature;  Drama Psychoanalysis, and Society, among their many other writings.  Their talk will be illustrated with excerpts from the Harry Potter films.

Register your place

Entry is free and open to all. We welcome members of the public, students, muggles, witches, warlocks and academics alike. Please be aware this event is very popular and has limited seating, so register your place before it's too late - Time-Turners will not help you here.

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