The Canadian Literary Censorship Project is underway
With the aid of a SRCA Growth Grant, Professors Alex Hollenberg, Owen Percy, and Brandon McFarlane have started work on The Canadian Literary Censorship Project. They’ve hired a team of four student research assistants from Creative Writing & Publishing, Interaction Design, and Illustration to try to document the extent of banned and challenged books in Canada.
While data from the American Library Association shows that literary censorship disproportionately targets authors and audiences of systemically marginalized groups, in Canada, there is currently no comprehensive, systematic, or readily-searchable compilation of censored literary works. In response to this gap, the CLCP is creating a preliminary list of Canada’s most censored books, as reported by schoolboards, libraries, postsecondary institutions, and publishers. From this list, the research team plans to make a series of freely available informational packets housed within an interactive digital hub designed to help educators, students, and the larger public understand the scope and consequence of literary censorship in Canada.
According to Professor Hollenberg, literary works communicate the values, aspirations, and anxieties of a society, and so the censorship of those texts might be taken as a bellwether for the overall health of that society, a measure of its citizens’ willingness to engage in unorthodox ideas, or even their complicity in inequitable systems of power.
Visit http://creativehumanities.ca/#projects for more updates as the project unfolds.