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Harry Potter and the Other - Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World

Harry Potter and the Other

Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World

Edited by Sarah Park Dahlen & Ebony Elizabeth Thomas
Series: Children's Literature Association Series

Hardcover : 9781496840578, 330 pages, 9 b&w illustrations; 1 table, June 2022
Paperback : 9781496840561, 330 pages, 9 b&w illustrations; 1 table, June 2022

A fascinating reconsideration of the depictions and implications of race and diversity in the Harry Potter franchise


Named a 2023 Honour Book by the International Research Society for Children's Literature

Contributions by Christina M. Chica, Kathryn Coto, Sarah Park Dahlen, Preethi Gorecki, Tolonda Henderson, Marcia Hernandez, Jackie C. Horne, Susan E. Howard, Peter C. Kunze, Florence Maätita, Sridevi Rao, Kallie Schell, Jennifer Patrice Sims, Paul Spickard, Lily Anne Welty Tamai, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Jasmine Wade, Karin E. Westman, and Charles D. Wilson

Race matters in the fictional Wizarding World of the Harry Potter series as much as it does in the real world. As J. K. Rowling continues to reveal details about the world she created, a growing number of fans, scholars, readers, and publics are conflicted and concerned about how the original Wizarding World—quintessentially white and British—depicts diverse and multicultural identities, social subjectivities, and communities. Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World is a timely anthology that examines, interrogates, and critiques representations of race and difference across various Harry Potter media, including books, films, and official websites, as well as online forums and the classroom.

As the contributors to this volume demonstrate, a deeper reading of the series reveals multiple ruptures in popular understandings of the liberatory potential of the Potter series. Young people who are progressive, liberal, and empowered to question authority may have believed they were reading something radical as children and young teens, but increasingly they have raised alarms about the series’ depiction of peoples of color, cultural appropriation in worldbuilding, and the author’s antitrans statements in the media. Included essays examine the failed wizarding justice system, the counterproductive portrayal of Nagini as an Asian woman, the liberation of Dobby the elf, and more, adding meaningful contributions to existing scholarship on the Harry Potter series. As we approach the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Other provides a smorgasbord of insights into the way that race and difference have shaped this story, its world, its author, and the generations who have come of age during the era of the Wizarding World.


"Harry Potter and the Other offers an essential intervention both in Harry Potter studies and in children’s literature studies more generally, explicating with great erudition and care the promise and limits of Rowling’s fantasies of multiculturalism."

- Tison Pugh, author of Harry Potter and Beyond: On J. K. Rowling’s Fantasies and Other Fictions

"Harry Potter and the Other provides a current set of theoretical approaches to the Potter series that is extremely welcome. What sets this collection apart is its focus in meaningful ways on social systems that seek to silence and oppress."

- Gwen Athene Tarbox, author of Children’s and Young Adult Comics and coeditor of Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults: A Collection of Critical Essays

"In this timely edited collection, Dahlen and Thomas assemble a tapestry of scholarship that brings a much-needed critical lens to the long-standing issues of discrimination and harm in the Harry Potter series. . . . A superb and necessary collection. Purchase and share this stellar collection with all the Potterheads in your library."

- Jen McConnel, School Library Journal

"The essay collection Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World is a broad ranging and necessary addition to the ever-evolving field of Harry Potter scholarship."

- Emily Lauer, Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"Devoted Harry Potter readers/viewers as well as those less enthusiastic about the franchise can appreciate the exploration of race and justice put forth in this solid collection."

- KaaVonia Hinton, The Lion and the Unicorn

"Dahlen and Thomas's collection, though unable to encompass the full scope of the criticisms around “othering” made about Harry Potter, offers an important starting set of questions and analyses."

- Effie Sapuridis, Journal of Popular Culture