Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents

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This Week's Featured Case

Eleanor & park.jpeg

Artist: Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Year: 2013

Date of Action: May 2017

Region: North America

Location: McArthur, Ohio

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Religion

Medium: Literature

Confronting Bodies: Vinton County High School, McArthur, Ohio

Description of Artwork: Eleanor & Park is award-winning young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell that is featured widely in English curricula and is critically praised for its acute exploration of themes such as love, race, bullying, body image, and abuse. It has occupied The New York Times bestseller list. While written about and for teens, the themes are universal. A frequently challenged book, it has been listed as no.10 on the American Library Association’s ‘Top Ten Challenged Books list.’

The Incident: Eleanor & Park was removed from a tenth-grade English curriculum following complaints. A parent of a student at Vinton County High School posted an out-of-context image of a passage from the book containing “foul language” on social media and issued a formal complaint about the book to the school. The school administration responded by cancelling English lessons that used the book, replacing it with a different novel.

Results of Incident: In a May 8, 2017 letter to the school administration, The National Coalition Against Censorship and 6 other organizations committed to defending kids’ right to read urged Vinton County High School to restore student access to Eleanor & Park. The letter was signed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild and PEN America. The case in ongoing.


NCAC Demands Ohio High School Restore Eleanor & Park to English Curriculum, BY NCAC, MAY 9, 2017

CBLDF Joins Defense of Eleanor & Park, May 9, 2017, By Betsy Gomez

See also:

Spotlight on Censorship: ‘Eleanor and Park,’ Intellectual Freedom blog, April 11, 2017

“I Don’t Want to be a Safe Writer”: An Interview With Rainbow Rowell, NCAC, OCTOBER 7, 2016

Can you help defend Eleanor & Park from censorship? Rainbow Rowell, September 22, 2016

Previous incidents:

Oregon School Board Reconsiders Hasty Ban of Eleanor & Park, February 15, 2017, By Maren Williams

Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Eleanor & Park’ Retained in Minnesota High School, By Karyn M. Peterson on November 25, 2013

Parents Action League wants 'Eleanor & Park' removed from Anoka-Hennepin libraries, October 2, 2013

Censorpedia, Anoka-Hennepin incident, 2013

What is Censorpedia?

Censorpedia is a crowdsourced online database of censorship cases within the arts and in culture. It is aimed at those researching censorship, at activists working for freedom of expression and at artists and other cultural producers whose expression has been subject to censorship or attempted censorship.

Censorpedia documents censorship incidents by providing the who, what, when, where and why. By providing a repository of information about what is vulnerable to censorship and about the strategies and tactics that have defeated previous’ censorship attempts, Censorpedia aids the fight for free expression.

Researchers can search for a specific case, year or keyword using the search box, as well as browse by medium, by grounds for censorship, or explore a random case.

Activists can search for ongoing cases or contribute a case that is ongoing or recently resolved.

Artists and cultural producers are similarly invited to add cases they are directly involved with or are familiar with first hand.

Censorpedia builds on the landmark 1994 art project The File Room, initiated by Muntadas.

For more information about censorship visit our Annotated Bibliography

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