Celebrating Freedom to Read Week 2017! (Part 1)

February 27, 2017

Freedom To Read Week 2017

Freedom to Read Week is here!

This week, Canadians are encouraged to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is a fundamental right that is guaranteed to all Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We at UTP Journals know full well the importance of intellectual freedom. Facilitating critical thought and open discussion of controversial issues is an important part of our mission as a scholarly press, so in honour of our commitment to freedom of expression and freedom to read, we are sharing 10 must-read articles on books that have at one time been deemed too controversial for schools and libraries across Canada (and in some cases all across North America). All FREE-TO-READ this week!


1. MUCH ADO ABOUT HARRY: HARRY POTTER AND THE CREATION OF A MORAL PANIC by Danielle M. Soulliere, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 22.1

In 2000, a Christian parent in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, complained about the presence of the Harry Potter series in an elementary school because of its depiction of wizardry and magic. The school principal ordered the books’ removal. Neither the parent nor the principal had actually read the books.
This article examines this moral panic that surrounded the Harry Potter series for nearly a decade, or what Danielle M. Soulliere terms “Potter Panic.”


2. ‘JUST A BACKLASH’: MARGARET ATWOOD, FEMINISM, AND THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Shirley Neuman, University of Toronto Quarterly 75. 3

In 2008, a Toronto parent complained about the use of this dystopian novel in his son’s Grade 12 English class because of its profane language, anti-Christian overtones, and themes of violence and sexual degradation. The Toronto District School Board reviewed the novel in 2009, but it was ultimately kept on Grade 12 reading lists.
In this comprehensive analysis of The Handmaid’s Tale as a feminist work, Shirley Neuman delves into the novel’s themes of violence and sexual degradation.

3. RACE AND READING: THE BURDEN OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Frances W. Kaye, Canadian Review of American Studies 29. 1

In 1991, an African-Canadian organization called PRUDE in Saint John, New Brunswick, sought to remove the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from school reading lists for its portrayal of racial minorities.
In this very compelling article, Frances W. Kaye carefully interprets the novel against the context of Twain’s time as well as in the context of our own time to provide an alternative reading of race and slavery in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.



In Canada, A Clockwork Orange was one of several books challenged by a parent group in Essex County in 1990. However, as one of the world’s most controversial works of literature, the book has motivated controversy and debate since its first publication in 1962, and it has been removed from schools and libraries all over North America for its profane language and graphic, sadistic violence.
This article examines the controversy that has accompanied every version of the book that has been presented to the public.


5. ANTIGONE’S BODIES: PERFORMING TORTURE by Marla Carlson, Modern Drama 46. 3

In 2011, band council members of the Poundmaker Cree Nation in northern Saskatchewan banned an adaptation of Antigone set on a contemporary First Nations reserve led by a corrupt band chief, despite assertions by the playwright, Deanne Kasokeo, that the chief character in the play was in no way based on real-life band chief, Chief Dwayne Antoine. The actors defied the ban and went on perform the play to approximately 60 attendees.
This article by Marla Carlson addresses another controversial aspect of the Greek legend: the representation of torture.

To view the complete list of works that have been challenged in Canada, go to the Challenged Works Database at http://www.freedomtoread.ca/challenged-works/

To learn how you can support Freedom to Read Week 2017, please visit http://www.freedomtoread.ca/

Stay tuned for five more FREE-TO-READ articles coming your way later this week!

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