Edge Hill University’s Gender and Sexuality Research Group (GenSex), will hold its last session of 2014 on the portrayal of masculinity in magical literature, including the now-iconic Harry Potter series.

Men of Magic: Harry Potter and Francis Barrett, which will be held on Wednesday 17th December, will feature two papers from guest speakers Sean O’Brien and Stuart Bates. Sean O’Brien’s paper ‘When is a wand not a wand?: Magic, Masculinity and Phallic Symbolism in Harry Potter’ will explore the phenomenal influence of the Harry Potter series on the minds of children and adults. He will argue that J.K. Rowling relies upon gender stereotyping to tell her story, and will explore the symbolism of wands and magic in illustrating masculinity, suggesting that Rowling’s positive portrayal of hyper-masculinity in the magical world has the potential for negative effects on her readers.

Stuart Bates’ paper ‘Of Magic and Men: Invoking the spirit of Francis Barrett, Romantic Magus’ will look at Francis Barrett and his 1801 publication The Magus. Stuart will explore the approaches to ritual and magic from both a male and female perspective and will draw on cultural changes of vital significance to the perception of magic, after the Witchcraft Act of 1735.

Launched in 2007 by GenSex Chair, Dr Mari Hughes-Edwards, the Gender and Sexuality Research Group is an international multi-disciplinary group which promotes global research into gender and sexuality studies.  Mari said: ‘It’s fantastic to end 2014 with such intriguing and original research.  Sean and Stuart are both compelling speakers and I’m sure the session will be magic in more ways than one’.

Men of Magic: Harry Potter and Francis Barrett will be held from 4-6pm in the Edge Hill University Business School (Room B003) on Wednesday 17th December 2014.  All are very welcome to attend this free event.