Harry Potter book slapped with trigger warning by university

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A university English literature course in which students will be studying various children’s books, including the first Harry Potter novel, is to be slapped with a trigger warning because the story might provoke “difficult conversations".

The warning at the University of Chester says Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone could "provoke difficult conversations about gender, race, sexuality, class, and identity”.

Author JK Rowling sparked a huge international franchise in 1997 with the first book about the fictional wizard, and was widely praised for encouraging a whole generation of tech-obsessed kids back into reading.

But her views on transgender rights have since seen her being “cancelled” and Dr Richard Leahy, who runs the University of Chester’s Approaches to Literature module, issued the warning to students.

The warning 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 same trigger warning is not included on similar courses centred on Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters and other writers.

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A number of the young actors whose careers were launched by the Harry Potter film franchise have weighed in on Rowling's opinions on transgender issues.

Daniel Radcliffe was one of the first to speak out. He released a lengthy statement which read, in part: "Transgender women are women.

"Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo [Rowling] or I.”

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Dr Leahy has also previously commented on Rowling, tweeting in March 2019: “JK Rowling reveals that he [sic] is not the best mate of mine”.

A spokesperson for the University of Chester responded: “The module picked out uses this generic text and an additional paragraph just to reiterate that young adult texts can also prompt important conversations.”

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