“Dark Arts and Other Wicked Ideas: Harry Potter, Banned Books and Intellectual Freedom” Presented by Michele McDaniel, reference librarian, and Ryan McDaniel, instructor of communication studies.
(This program is part of Booth Library’s (at EIU) fall exhibit and program series, “Twenty Years of Harry Potter: Celebrating a Phenomenon.” The exhibit will be on display at the library from Sept. 14 through Dec. 31, 2017.)
Come explore intellectual freedom during Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-30) with this enchanted perspective inspired by Harry Potter.
Identifying certain ideas as dangerous – and therefore banned or otherwise restricted – is a perennial phenomenon, manifesting throughout every time and culture. When reading the Harry Potter series, one encounters the Restricted Section in the Hogwarts Library, where the reader is informed that books about the Dark Arts and how to defend oneself against them are found. However, only those sufficiently matured and prepared may read the restricted materials, and then only under the close supervision and guidance of a wiser wizard. The very name of the highest master and practitioner of these Dark Arts is not to be spoken, but only referenced by means of circumlocutions like, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Your speakers will examine the broader topic of intellectual freedom through the lens of the Harry Potter series. Ryan McDaniel will offer some historical background and context for considering this theme in the Western cultural tradition. From the trial and execution of Socrates, to the Papal Index of Prohibited Books, to irreplaceable collections of Jewish books going up in flames during the Renaissance: Ryan will share a tale that, at times, can feel just as harrowing as the tale of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Michele McDaniel will then pick up the topic as she examines the problem of intellectual freedom in the Harry Potter series, book challenges in school and public libraries (including challenges posed to the Harry Potter series itself), and the role of libraries in protecting intellectual freedom.
Ryan McDaniel has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Communication Studies at EIU since 2007. A proud alum, Ryan has earned four degrees from Eastern, including B.A. degrees in communication studies and philosophy, and M.A. degrees in communication studies and history. He also holds an M.A. in theology from the Aquinas Institute of Theology, an M.Div. from Luther Rice Seminary and University, and has studied religion as a postgraduate student at Princeton Theological Seminary. Most recently, he has pursued doctoral studies in religion and rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as Nashotah House Theological Seminary. In addition to his service at EIU, Ryan McDaniel is an ordained priest of the Orthodox Church, serving as a chaplain in the Illinois Air National Guard.
Michele McDaniel is a reference librarian and instructor at EIU’s Booth Library, serving as the coordinator of the Ballenger Teachers Center and subject liaison for the education departments within the College of Education and Professional Studies. Michele earned a B.A. from Calvin College, majoring in English and minoring in Latin. She holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science and is a candidate for a C.A.S. postgraduate degree in Library and Information Science, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining the faculty at EIU, Michele served for four years as a teacher librarian in the Charleston Community Unit School District No. 1, maintaining collections and teaching at Carl Sandburg, Mark Twain and Ashmore elementary schools.
Though this is their first academic partnership, Ryan and Michele have been partners in life for almost 5 years. When they are not reading banned books and pursuing other academic interests, you can find them spending time with their two-and-a-half year old son, Killian.