British University of Chester has issued a warning about J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The University of Chester’s English Department lists Harry Potter, the Philosopher’s Stone, as one of three sets of literary texts in their “Approaches To Literature” module. However, they have felt it necessary to add the trigger warning that these books can lead to “difficult discussions about gender, race and sexuality and identity”.
Chester’s English Department added a trigger warning labeled “CONTENT WARNING”, to the module’s reading lists. This includes two children’s books, Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights, and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
We are currently reading a selection Young Adult texts about this Module. However, the nature and content of the theories can cause difficult conversations about gender, race sexuality, class, identity, and class.
These topics will be dealt with objectively, critically and, most importantly, with respect. Please contact the Module Leader if you have any concerns about the content.
Professor Richard Leahy, a course leader, may have sworn to Rowling’s disdain in 2019, tweeting: “JK Rowling reveals he isn’t the best mate for mine”, The Daily Mail reports. Since then, Leahy deleted his Twitter account.
According to the Daily Mail, the English department at Chester University does not have any content warnings. This is because they do not add warnings for modules that feature Shakesphere’s graphically violent works or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s opium-addicted detective Sherlock Holmes.
University of Chester spokesperson suggested that the English department promotes rather than avoids discussion on “all the problems, challenges, and complexity of humanity”.
The University explained that the trigger warning was just added to the reading list because it was “a standard form for words for level 4 students” and that the warning was meant to remind young adults that important conversations can be triggered by texts written by them.
The University of Chester claimed that all their reading list contained a “generic sentence” to “draw attention the possibility for individual students talk to tutors if something is particularly difficult due to its personal relevance”. However, the Daily Mail investigation did not confirm this.
Rowling was a vocal critic of radical transgender movements and became a target of harassment by extremist transgender activists. In December 2019, Rowling tweeted out support for Maya Forstater, a British tax expert. Rowling was fired after she said that “men cannot transform into women”.
“Dress however and whenever you like.
You can call yourself whatever you want.
If you are able to sleep with any adult, do so.
Enjoy a peaceful and secure life.
For stating that sex can be real, should we force women to quit their jobs? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill”
Rowling made other statements about women’s rights that inadvertently propelled pro-transgender radicals. For example, Rowling tweeted out June 2020: “People who have their periods. There used to be a term for these people. Please help me. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”.
Rowling’s outspokenness about these controversial issues has led to backlash against her.