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Entitling Help

May 24, 2005

Even though nobody reads this blog, I’m going to pretend that this isn’t the case. Thus, a request for help.

One of my side projects is am edited volume on Harry Potter and international relations. The current opening paragraph reads as follows:

This volume is about Harry Potter and world politics. This may seem like an odd topic. What, one might ask, can works of children’s fantasy possibly teach us about war, peace, intervention, international trade, transnational movements, and other concerns that form the core of the study of international politics? The answer is that the Harry Potter books, films, and merchandise provide a variety of insights into an increasingly important issue in international-relations theory: the relationship between popular culture and world politics. J.K. Rowling’s stories of young witches and wizards coming of age during a struggle against malevolent forces enjoys extraordinary global popularity. It is, therefore, an excellent foil for exploring the variety of ways in which popular culture intersects with the study, teaching, and practice of international relations.

The volume is organized thematically, but the chapters represent various ways of studying popular culture and world politics, ranging from an account of the international economic changes in media production/marketing that made the success of Harry Potter possible to critical readings of Harry Potter from the perspective of international-relations theory to some more cultural-studies-esque chapters.

The volume is basically finished. I have a research assistant working on some standardization while I tweak the introduction. We’re sending the volume to the publisher this week. But here’s the problem: We don’t have a good title.

The publisher also did Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and they’re looking for something “equally catchy.” That means the rather bland working title, “Harry Potter and World Politics,” won’t cut it.

Here are a few of the suggestions we’ve come up with so far:

• “Harry Potter and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”
• “International/Intermuggle Relations”

And my co-editor’s suggestion:

• “Learning to Spell: Harry Potter and the Linguistic Turn in International Relations”

Any ideas?

(If it helps, the bulk of the chapters either deal with some dimension of globalization or with identity and political conflict.)

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.