University puts trigger warning on Harry Potter
The English department at the University of Chester have issued a trigger warning on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, saying it could lead “difficult conversations about gender, race, sexuality, class, and identity”.
As part of a first year module, “Approaches to Literature” module, freshers are required to read JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book as a set text.
The warning statement reads: “Although we are studying a selection of young adult texts on this module, the nature of the theories we apply to them can lead to some difficult conversations about gender, race, sexuality, class, and identity.
“These topics will be treated objectively, critically, and most crucially, with respect. If anyone has any issues with the content, please get in touch with the module leader to make them aware.”
The university claimed that the paragraph was “generic” and not specifically aimed at Harry Potter.
A spokesman told The Times: “Those studying literature should expect to encounter all the issues, challenges and complexity of humankind. As a university we promote rather than avoid discussion on these.”
“We do of course include a generic paragraph on our reading lists to draw attention to the opportunity for individual students to talk with tutors if anything is particularly difficult because of its personal relevance. Tutors know how to signpost students to specialist support which is occasionally needed but often the tutorial or seminar discussion is sufficient for a student to put an issue in context.”
“The example paragraph you picked out is generic rather than specific to the three texts.”