Monday, October 10, 2011

WC Historian to Share the Real Renaissance Science and Medicine Behind Harry Potter’s Magic

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Speaking at the Kent County Library on Thursday evening, October 20, Dr. Janet Sorrentino, Associate Professor of History at Washington College, will share her insights into how author J.K. Rowling’s magical world of Hogwarts reflects the real-world science and medicine practiced during the Renaissance. Her talk, “Alchemy, Transformation, & Secrets of the Chivalric Order” will take place at 6 p.m. and will complement a special traveling exhibition that is on display at the library.
“Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine” is a six-banner exhibition that uses materials from the National Library of Medicine to explore Harry Potter’s world and its roots in real-world Renaissance practices. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the library display also examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power. It will be on display at the Kent County Public Library through October 31, 2011.
Professor Sorrentino’s background includes a degree in nursing and the study of church history and liturgy. Her teaching and lecturing often combine her knowledge of medicine and religion with her expertise in world history, from the Ancient world through the Reformation.
The library is located at 408 High Street in Chestertown. For more information on the Harry Potter exhibit and Dr. Sorrentino’s Oct. 20 talk, call (410) 778-3636 or visit the library’s website.

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