Trauma, Harry Potter, and the Demented World of Academia

  • M’Balia Thomas The University of Kansas
Keywords: Trauma, Academic Socialization, Harry Potter, Testimonio Narrative Function


The following text presents my personal experience of psychological trauma as part of regular and ongoing processes of institutional (re)socialization into academe as a pre-tenure faculty member of color. In giving voice to this experience of trauma, the paper adopts a testimonio narrative function to highlight the shared nature of this experience even while foregrounding the uniqueness of my situation as a member of a marginalized and gendered body living in a specific geographical context and socio-political time. Though testimonio provides structure to my narrative, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels—a series about individual and collective trauma at the mortifying hands of resocializing institutions—provide an incidental, but integral, narrative lens through which I make meaning and offer advice on surviving traumatic experiences in institutional spaces.