ProgrammingScheduleCall for ProposalsInformal EventsKeynote Luncheons

At the ninth and lowest level of the Ministry of Magic lies the Department of Mysteries, staffed by the Unspeakables, enigmatic wizards who labor to understand and explain the magic inherent in the very fabric of existence.

Portus 2008: A Harry Potter Symposium similarly delves into these mysteries, encouraging its own Unspeakables to investigate, deconstruct, discuss and illustrate the magic woven into the Harry Potter novels as relates not only to the series, but also its intersections with the non-fictional realm. As a symposium for adult fans and scholars of the Harry Potter novels, we aim to promote scholarly analysis of the books, to provide forums for debate and analysis among fans of those works, and to provide professional development opportunities for teachers and librarians.

Proposals are sought for presentations, papers, moderated panels, workshops, roundtables and posters on any topic relating to the Harry Potter novels and/or the fan community. We welcome formal papers as well as proposals for a variety of presentation models, including prepared panel discussions and workshops. We encourage workshops, in particular, that focus on audience participation and interaction. Additionally, we are assembling a poster session for topics that might lend themselves to more visual presentations or more interactive discussion with a smaller audience.

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Programming Tracks

Portus 2008 welcomes submissions in the following areas:

  • Literary and Media Studies
  • Law, Politics, Ethics
  • Social Sciences
  • Education and Library Science
  • Fandom Studies and Culture
  • Fan Creativity

We also welcome submissions outside these areas. We encourage new and original presentations to keep Portus 2008 progressive in the Harry Potter fandom.


Presentation Formats

Presentation formats include, but are not limited to:


Lecture-style presentations on a chosen topic typically involve one person lecturing and teaching in front of a large audience, with Q & A time incorporated.

Discussion Panels

A discussion panel typically consists of a few people presenting a topic and discussing and/or critically analyzing it, preferably with a moderator to enforce structure and order. The discussion panel should allow time for questions/comments from the audience, or incorporate other means of audience participation.


A roundtable chat is comprised of a group of people having a structured discussion on a chosen topic, hosted by a moderator.


A workshop is a session that focuses on training and teaching participants about a specific subject or skill. This format generally consists of a small group of people instructing a large group of participants. Examples:

  • Fanfiction and creative writing: characterization, fanon vs. canon, beta reading, the transition between fanfiction and original writing.
  • Fanart, drawing, painting, and digital art: art critiques, demonstrations, and tutorials.

Poster Sessions

A poster session consists of many presentations displayed visually, while attendees circulate (similar to a science fair). Presenters can give short verbal presentations about their topic with the aid of a handout if desired.


How to Submit a Proposal

To submit a proposal for Portus, please send an email to no later than midnight EST on January 21, 2008 with the following information:

Name of presenter(s):
Email address(es) of presenter(s):
Phone number of presenter(s):
Title of presentation:
Presentation format (Lecture, Panel, Roundtable or Workshop):
Time needed for presentation (20, 50, 80, 120 minutes):
Presentation proposal (fewer than 500 words):
Presenter biography (fewer than 150 words):
Equipment and materials requested (e.g. whiteboard, projector [LCD or overhead]), if any: