Best Fan Turned Scholar

Tolonda Henderson
GW’s Gelman Library, 2130 H St. NW, (202) 994-4758
Tolonda Henderson works as a librarian at George Washington University, but she’s also a scholar of an unusual topic: Harry Potter. “There would’ve been a time where studying Shakespeare would’ve been a fluff topic,” says Henderson, who’s led workshops at local libraries, presented papers at several conferences, and was published in From Here to Hogwarts: Essays on Harry Potter Fandom and Fiction. She’s written about the visual culture of the Potter world, analyzed the use of the library space in the books, and described how disabilities are presented via a world of wizards. Buffy the Vampire Slayer tends to take the spotlight in the academic world, she says, but Henderson likes Harry Potter because of its characters’ complexity. Neville Longbottom is her favorite.