“Potterversity” Episode 48: “Self and Others”

On this episode, two more contributors to our book, Potterversity: Essays Exploring the World of Harry Potter, talk about their chapters on equality, inclusion, and compassion.



Travis Prinzi and Mark-Anthony Lewis join Katy and Emily to discuss how the wizarding world serves as a lens through which to understand the social ethics of our own world, particularly amid racial tensions and diversity. Travis’s chapter, “The Problem with Loving Enemies: Kindness and Oppression in ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,’” and Mark-Anthony’s chapter, “Uncle Remus’s Shack: Tokenism in the Wizarding World,” both examine how we respond to people who are different from us.

For Travis, studying critical race theory in education while rereading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in preparation for the release of the final book made him see systemic prejudice in the wizarding world in new ways. It was house-elf slavery and the discussions around it that made Mark-Anthony think deeply about how their oppression came about.

Travis sees the seemingly simple fairy tale of “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot” take on completely new meaning when put in the historical context Dumbledore provides in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Mark-Anthony applies W.E.B. Du Bois’s idea of “twoness” to magical minorities, some of whom have a literal “twoness” as hybrid beings, like centaurs and merpeople.

How can we use the wizarding world to find solutions to the challenge of social and racial equality in our own world? For a start, we can confront our fear of the unknown and embrace the freedom to be wrong – and learn from it.

What would you like to hear more about from our podcast? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at PotterversityPodcast@gmail.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Laurie Beckoff

My Harry Potter journey began in 2000 when I was six and continued through a bachelor's thesis and master's dissertation on medievalism in the series. I'm a Gryffindor from New York City with a passion for theatre, fantasy, Arthurian legend, and science fiction.