Conference History

Past Conference Programs


The Harry Potter Conference has its origins in an Interdisciplinary Honors course for undergraduate students developed by Profs. McCauley and Wendling and taught at Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, PA). This IDHP course used the Harry Potter series as an example of Bildungsroman literature to study the often competing influences of science and philosophy/religion on the development of personal truth and meaning. The course was taught from Fall 2009 through Spring 2012. During this time, independent of the course, Chestnut Hill College students formed their own quidditch team and began to compete in the national arena ... and to host their own tournament, the Brotherly Love Cup. Then the town of Chestnut Hill, located next to the college, got involved. Already a beautiful community boasting unique restaurants and shops, the town "converts" for one weekend in October into all things Wizard-related. The Harry Potter Conference was first held in October 2012 as part of Chestnut Hill's Harry Potter Weekend to provide an academic outlet for a serious - but always enjoyable - study of the themes in the Harry Potter series. The conference was well attended and presentations were made by area students, faculty, and community members. Since 2012, the conference has grown in size and scope, expanding the boundaries of “a traditional academic conference” to create a safe, inclusive space for lively discussions and reflections on the long-term impact of Rowling’s literature. All are welcome.