Professor and Students Study the Value and Importance of Banned Books

Posted by Leah Prater

The week of September 22 is recognized as national Banned Books Week. For Travis Proffitt’s class, the subject of banned books is a semester-long discussion.  This is the second year that Proffitt, the director of academic diversity at Emory & Henry, has taught the course to first-year honors students.

Story contributed by Kanin Clark, E&H Student

Kelly Library exhibit of banned books Credit: Photo by Kanin ClarkIn class, students read and discuss four challenged works in literature, including Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, The Bluest Eye and Persepolis. “These four aforementioned books continue to be some of the most challenged texts today in schools and libraries,” said Proffitt. “The focus of the class is to study the context of a book’s publication as well as the factors that lead to a book being challenged. Themes and concepts of power, culture, identity and social change are discussed in the course as well as how banned or challenged books have shaped society.” Students in first-year transitions courses chose specific topics of interest while adjusting to living and learning in the academic community as part of the core curriculum. 

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 by the American Library Association as a week of awareness in the wake of initiatives to challenge literary works in libraries and bookstores. Today, the Banned Books Week coalition continues to draw attention to the harm of censorship of literature potentially seen as unpopular or orthodox. The coalition highlights the expression of the freedom of speech and freedom of expression in works of literature.

  • Travis Proffitt teaches honors transitions class
    Travis Proffitt teaches honors transitions class
“The focus of the class is to study the context of a book’s publication as well as the factors that lead to a book being challenged. Themes and concepts of power, culture, identity and social change are discussed in the course as well as how banned or challenged books have shaped society.”
—Travis Proffitt

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