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Harry Potter Law Course Introduced in Kolkata University, India

Based on the fictional world of Harry Potter, a top law university in Kolkata, India has introduced a special course for the budding Indian lawyers.

Harry Potter Law Course Introduced in Kolkata University, India

Harry Potter and his tales have such appeal across the Indian state that those have been some real inspiration behind constituting an entire law course in one of country’s most reputed law universities.

“An interface between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special focus on Rowling's Potterverse” as the course is titled will be offered by National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) in Kolkata. It aims at exploring the legal aspects of Harry Potter’s magical universe, created by J. K. Rowling and its lessons that could be derived and put into practice in reality.

Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha who has designed the course says, “This course is meant to be more of an experiment. It will take both me and the students out of our comfort zones. In law schools, people get a very specific set of subjects. The curriculum revolves around the hard letter of the law, case laws etc. Given the fact that this course lasts about five years, students also get bored,”.

Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha

Apart from being a breather, the course is also supposed to guide the law students understand and grapple with the changing the scenarios of the nation. The limitations of law and press, Rowling has vividly etched in her series of Harry Potter stories will let the students obtain a platform to compare the same with their own government.

“You can also see so many examples of how media is subverted by political institutions in the Potter books and see parallels in the real world,” Guha mentioned.

The law course will be having 45 hours of discussion-based teaching sessions, and the 4th and 5th year students of the B.A LL.B (Hons) program can take it up as an elective.

Professor Guha informed that the course that will start its first batch in December has already got its 40 seats filled up, yet several students are interested to join the course and have requested to increase the number of seats.

However, this is not the first time that a university has taken such an innovative lead. Several colleges in the US and UK do offer such curriculums, even in India a Potterverse-centric elective law course was started by Rashmi Raman, a former student of NUJS, in 2012.

As published by BBC, the Harry Potter inspired winter semester includes some of the following topics:

  • Legal traditions and institutions, including liberty and the rule of law in a magical society, and bureaucracy in the ministry of magic.

  • Unforgivable curses, Wizengamot trials, the innocence of Sirius Black and the persecution of Tom Riddle.

  • Social values, identity and class rights as seen in the enslavement of house elves or the marginalisation of werewolves, giants and centaurs.

  • Contracts and agency - for instance, unbreakable vows and Snape and the order of Phoenix.

  • Quidditch and sports law at Hogwarts.