Date

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Adviser

Rollins, Brooke

Abstract

Using Isocrates’ theory of education, I argue that Harry Potter and the fandom culture it inspires cultivates a moral and ethical literacy. Isocrates proclaims that texts are a pivotal tool in instructing students and are a means to instill values. This theory helps frame the way I see reading Harry Potter and participating within online fandom spaces as a form of ethical instruction unique to the phenomenon that is the Harry Potter Generation, those who grew up along with the release of the texts, films, and subsequent canonical expansions. I articulate how the book provides readers with examples they can draw on to understand the world around them. These examples are then put into practice within online communities where readers develop and hone literacy skills that cultivate their moral and ethical frameworks to be more accepting of marginalized groups and individuals. This approach establishes the literacy and rhetorical capacity of online communities and the moral and ethical potential of these spaces when combined with worthy texts.

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