Philip Nel > Courses > English 680: Censoring Children's Literature (Fall 2010)
 
English 680: 
Censoring Children's Literature
 
EH 021. TR 11:30-12:45 p.m.
 
 
Professor Philip Nel
Office Phone: 532-2165
Office: ECS 103
Office Hours: Th 8:30-9:30 am, 4-5 pm, & by appt.
Virtual Office Hours: philnel@ksu.edu
Website: www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/
Paper Assignment: Undergraduates Grad Students
Class Presentation: Assignment Groups
Book Review: Assignment Due Dates
Other Assignments: Not Appropriate? Message Board
 
Syllabus last updated on October 21, 2010 .
 
 
Required Texts:
Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima.
Lynne Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard.
Helen Bannerman, Little Black Sambo.
Judy Blume, Forever.
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health.
Justine Larbalestier, Liar.
Hugh Lofting, The Story of Doctor Dolittle.
Walter Dean Myers, Fallen Angels.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Outrageously Alice.
Dav Pilkey, The Adventures of Captain Underpants.
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Alex Sanchez, Rainbow Boys.
Course Pack for English 680: Censoring Children's Literature. Available at Eisenhower Copy Center (EH 011) on August 23, 2010.
 
Objectives:
       This course explores what one can and cannot say in literature for children and adolescents.  One the one hand, young readers are in the process of forming their identities and thus might be more vulnerable or impressionable.  On the other hand, part of the process of identify formation is learning to think for oneself, and how to cope with ideas that may be difficult or troubling.
       So, we will examine books that have attracted controversy.  Some have been revised so as not to offend current sensitivities (in those cases, we’ll read the original versions, too). Some have been modified without the author's consent. Others have been removed from classrooms and public libraries. Still others have been denounced in magazines, from the pulpit, or in front of the U.S. Senate.  At least half of the required texts (above) have landed on the American Library Association’s list of Banned and Challenged Books.  In short, the range of texts here have offended for a variety of reasons.
 
 
 
Grading: Undergraduates | Graduate Students
Undergraduates:   Points   Due
Class Participation 100   Daily.
Message Board 100   Weekly.
Presentation    200   In class, on day scheduled.
Paper 200   In class, 12/2.
Not Appropriate? 50   In class, 11/18.
Midterm Exam 150   In class, 10/19.
Final Exam 200   12/15, 9:40 - 11:30 a.m.
Total 1000  

Graduate Students:  Points   Due
Class Participation 100   Daily.
Message Board 100   Weekly.
Presentation   200   In class, on day scheduled.
Book Review 50   In class, on day scheduled.
Paper 200   Abstract, 10/28; Final, 12/2.
Not Appropriate? 50   In class, 11/18.
Midterm Exam 100   In class, 10/19.
Final Exam 200  12/15, 9:40 - 11:30 a.m.
Total 1000  

Requirements: Class Participation and Attendance | Paper | Presentation | Book Review | Not Appropriate? | Message Board Board

        Class Participation and Attendance:
        Read everything, and come to class prepared to talk about what you have read. On the first day of class discussion for each assignment, you must have finished the reading and be ready to discuss it. By "the reading," I mean all of the text assigned for that day. This class will be based on discussion, so class participation is expected, and will count for 10% of your final grade. I reserve the right to assign homework or in-class writing projects that are not listed on the syllabus.
        Although it shouldn't be necessary for me to say this, I'll say it anyway: Class attendance is required. Since the class meets twice a week, you are granted two absences, but more than three will lower your final grade by one grade for each absence (e.g., B would become C). You cannot earn credit for work missed in class. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to discover what went on that day.
 
        Paper: Undergraduates | Graduate Students
        The paper must: be typed (word-processed) and double-spaced; include a title, your name, and the date; and have numbered pages that are stapled or paper-clipped together. Late papers will be penalized one grade (e.g., B+ to C+) for each day late. For a full description of the paper assignment for undergraduates and the paper assignment for graduate students, please click on the relevant words in this sentence.
        Sources: Use the MLA method for documenting sources. Don't plagiarize. When you turn in a paper, you pledge that you have faithfully abided by the guidelines for documenting sources -- most grammar handbooks provide guidelines for documentation. Always remember: you must cite the sources of any ideas that are not your own. If you quote, paraphrase, or use another's ideas, you must give credit to the person whose ideas you are using. If you have any questions, please ask. If you plagiarize, you will automatically fail this course. For more information on Kansas State University's Honor System, please visit <www.ksu.edu/honor>.
 
        Presentation:
        Groups of students will sign up to present some contextual material for one of our class sessions. The presentations should be 10 minutes in length. Rehearse your presentation to make sure that it comes in at or near to 10 minutes.
        Students must meet with me in advance to confirm the focus of their presentation.
        Each group must develop a brief handout (one side of one page or two sides of one page) which you can distribute to the class as a reference to the information and insights you will provide. The handout must include an annotated bibliography of relevant secondary sources.
        You will need to consult relevant resources (some on reserve, others available in the stacks or other library resources). As you might guess from these guidelines, you should plan to meet with your group at least once in advance of the presentation. When you meet with me, I may well be able to recommend some sources for your subject.
 
        Book Review (Graduate Students):
        Please note that the book review assignment is for graduate students only. Undergraduates should ignore this particular assignment.
 
 
        Not Appropriate?: Read a book that offends someone:
        Read one book for children or for adolescents that has offended. This cannot be a book or a book series on our syllabus.  There are many places you might find such a book. Here are some of those places:
        On November 16, 2010, you will turn in a paper that addresses the following three questions:
    1. Whom did it offend? Why? Gather as much info. as you can about the specific complaint or complaints against the book.
    2. Historicize the complaint. Why did the book offend people at that time and in that place? If the book is over ten years old, would it be more or less likely to offend people now in that same place?
    3. Today, in which countries or cultures is the book likely to be accepted?
    4. Finally, take one of the following two positions:
      1. You would like either to teach this book or to retain it in your school library. Spend your final two paragraphs offering a rhetorically persuasive defense of why the book should remain either in the curriculum or in the library.
      2. Argue that access to the book should be restricted in some way. Spend your final two paragraphs offering a rhetorically persuasive defense of why access to the book should be restricted in some way.

    Please note:

        Computing -- the Internet, the Message Board, and Email:

        The Internet: This syllabus is on-line, via the "Courses" section of my homepage <www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/>. I have listed resources, and provided links to the paper assignments for underrgraduate students and graduate students.

        Message Board: Post comments to the message board every other week (or more frequently, if you wish). An average posting should run one or two paragraphs in length. In other words, your postings do not need to be long, but they must be substantive -- long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, connecting your comment to others' comments, as appropriate. I will monitor these discussions and assess a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness to both our readings and to your classmates in comments on the message board. Though extra postings to the message board will not automatically replace participation in class discussions, regular contributions above and beyond your weekly posting can improve your class participation grade.
        You can access the message board via K-State On-Line:
  1. First, log in to our class on K-State On-Line.
  2. At left, choose "Message Board."
  3. To post, you may either reply to a message (when you're reading a message, there's a "Reply" option) or begin a new thread (by selecting "New Thread" at top right).
 
        Email: My email address is philnel@ksu.edu. Please use the subject line. Due to the increased volume of spam, messages without clear subject lines will be deleted unread. You can write with questions, send a thesis statement or outline for an essay, make an appointment to meet me in my office, or do anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I check email several times daily, but I am not on-line at all times.
 

Schedule of Assignments
Subject to Change
[W] = On Web. [CP] = Course Pack. [R] = On Reserve (at Hale Library). [C] = To read in Class.
Note: "through" means "to the end of" (not "up to"). Page numbers refer to the editions assigned.
Introduction: Ideology, History, and Guardians of Childhood
August T 24 Introduction. Maurice Sendak, In the Night Kitchen (1970) [C].
  Th 26 Roland Barthes, “Toys” from Mythologies (1957, trans. 1972) [CP].  Excerpts from Richard Scarry, Best Word Book Ever (1963) and Best Word Book Ever (1991) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/kokogiak/66087367/in/set-1425737/>
 
  T 31 Sarah Trimmer, excerpts from The Guardian of Education (1802); Charles Perrault, “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard” [all CP].
 
Race & Other Imperialist Fantasies: From Sambo to the Oompa-Loompas
September Th 2 Heinrich Hoffman, Struwwelpeter (1848), <http://www.fln.vcu.edu/struwwel/struwwel.html> (click on "dual language" for each) [W]; Helen Bannerman, The Story of Little Black Sambo (1899); Marcellino, The Story of Little Babaji (1996) [R]; Julius Lester & Jerry Pinkney, Sam and the Tigers (1996) [R]; Michelle Martin, "'Hey, Who's the Kid with the Green Umbrella?': A Reevaluation of Little Black Sambo and the Black-a-moor," from Brown Gold: Milestones of African-American Children's Picture Books, 1845-2002 (2004) [CP]. Presentation on African-American Children's Picture Books.
 
T 7 Herbert Kohl, "Should We Burn Babar?" from Should We Burn Babar? (1995), pp. 3-29 [CP]; Jean de Brunhoff, The Story of Babar (1933) [R]
  Th 9 Hugh Lofting, The Story of Doctor Dolittle (1920) [W]. Read it here <http://books.google.com/books?id=SrMqAAAAYAAJ&ots=thzK4rZazp&dq=Lofting%20Doctor%20Dolittle&pg=PP9#v=onepage&q&f=false>.
 
T 14 Hugh Lofting, The Story of Doctor Dolittle (revised edition, 1988); Anne Fine, “Write and Wrong,” The Sunday Times (London) 13 July 2007 <http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2065349.ece>. Presentation on Bowdlerism.
Th 16 Eleanor Cameron vs. Roald Dahl, at Horn Book (1972-1973) [W] <http://www.hbook.com/history/magazine/camerondahl.asp>: Read Cameron, “McLuahn, Youth, and Literature, Part I” (Oct. 1972); Paul Heins, “In Protest” (Feb. 1973); Dahl, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Reply” (Feb. 1973); “Letters to the Editor” (Feb. 1973); Paul Heins, “At Critical Cross-Purposes” (Apr. 1973); Eleanor Cameron, “A Reply to Roald Dahl” (Apr. 1973).  Also read: Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illus. Quentin Blake, 1998), through chapter 17; original (1964) and revised (1973) versions of "The Chocolate Room" and "The Oompa-Loompas" chapters [CP]
 
  T 21 Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (revised edition, 1973), to end.
 
Multicuturalism and Its Discontents
Th 23 Lynne Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard (1980); Joy Fleishhacker, "Yearling Rejuvenates 'The Indian in the Cupboard' Series," School Library Journal, 17 Aug. 2010 <http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/newsletters/newsletterbucketextrahelping/886304-443/yearling_rejuvenates_the_indian_in.html.csp>. Presentation on Multicultural Children's Literature.
 
T 28 Banks, Indian in the Cupboard, to end.  Angela Shelf Medearis, Dancing with the Indians (1992) [R]; Tim Tingle, Crossing Bok Chitto (2006) [R]; Jean Mendoza & Debbie Reese, "Examining Multicultural Picture Books for the Early Childhood Classroom: Possibilities and Pitfalls," Early Childhood Research & Practice 3.2 (2001) [W]: <http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v3n2/mendoza.html>.
Th 30 Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima (1972), through Doce. Presentation on Censorship in America.
 
October T 5 Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima, to end.
 
Aesthetics and Heretics: The Case of Harry Potter
Th 7 J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999) through Chapter 11 (p. 232); Harold Bloom, “Can 35 Million Book Buyers Be Wrong?  Yes.”  Wall Street Journal 11 July 2000 [CP]; Philip Nel, "You Say 'Jelly,' I Say 'Jell-O'?: Harry Potter and the Transfiguration of Language," The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter, ed. Whited (U Missouri P, 2002): 261-84 [CP].
 
  T 12 J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), to end; Kimbra Wilder Gish, “Hunting Down Harry Potter: An Exploration of Religious Concerns About Children's Literature.”  The Horn Book May/June 2000: 262-71.
 
Sex, Seduction, & Innocence
Th 14 Marah Gubar, “Innocence” from Keywords for Children’s Literature (2011) [CP]; Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health (1996). Presentation on Innocence.
 
T 19 Midterm Exam
Th 21 Judy Blume, Forever (1975). Presentation on Librarians' Responses to Censorship.
 
  T 26 Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Outrageously Alice (1998).
Th 28 Fredric Wertham, excerpt from Seduction of the Innocent.  Selected comics that Wertham denounced: Authentic Police Cases 6 (Nov. 1948), Jungle Comics 98 (Feb. 1948), Women Outlaws 1 (July 1948). [All avail. via K-State OnLine: click on "Files & Content," and then click on "comics denounced by Wertham" or "Wertham Seduction of the Innocent excerpt."] Presentation on Fredric Wertham and the Comics Controversy of the 1950s. Abstract DUE (Graduate Students).
 
Publisher vs. Author
November T 2 Justine Larbalestier, Liar (2009), through Part II; Larbalestier, “Ain’t that a shame (updated)” <http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2009/07/23/aint-that-a-shame/>.
W 3 Union 212, 4-5 p.m. Lecture by Cheryl Klein, editor at Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, on multiculturalism in children's and young adult literature.
Th 4 Larbalestier, Liar, to end.
 
Homosexuality
  T 9 Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole, And Tango Makes Three (2005) [R]; Jon Mooallem, “Can Animals Be Gay?” New York Times Magazine, 4 April 2010 <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/magazine/04animals-t.html> [W].  Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, King & King [R]; Leslea Newman and Diane Souza, Heather Has Two Mommies  [R]
Th 11 Alex Sanchez, Rainbow Boys (2001), through Chapter 12. Presentation on GBLT Children's Literature.
 
  T 16 Sanchez, Rainbow Boys (2001), to end.
Th 18 Not Appropriate? DUE in class.
 
T 23 Thanksgiving
Th 25 Break
 
Violence and Offensive Language
  T 30 Walter Dean Myers, Fallen Angels (1988), to p. 150 (up to the chapter that begins "December 22, 1967").
December Th 2 Myers, Fallen Angels, to end. Paper DUE in class.
 
  T 7 Dav Pilkey, The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997). Jackie Stallcup, “‘The Feast of Misrule’: Captain Underpants, Satire, and the Literary Establishment” (2008) [CP].
R 9 Conclusion and Review.
 
W 15 Final Exam, 9:40-11:30 a.m. You must take the final exam on the day and at the time scheduled. NO EXCEPTIONS. MARK YOUR CALENDARS.

RESOURCES

for English 680: Censoring Children's Literature

 


Philip Nel | Courses | Books | Blog | Crockett Johnson Homepage | Don DeLillo Society | Links | Self-Promotion | Site Map | FAQ
Program in Children's Literature | Department of English | Kansas State University

This page is © 2010 by Philip Nel. All rights reserved. Read the Disclaimer.

Last updated October 21, 2010 .

 


Philip Nel | Courses | Books | Blog | Crockett Johnson Homepage | Don DeLillo Society | Links | Self-Promotion | Site Map | FAQ
Program in Children's Literature | Department of English | Kansas State University

This page is © 2010 by Philip Nel. All rights reserved. Read the Disclaimer.

Last updated October 21, 2010 .