e202. To Kill a Mockingbird… and a Maus — Censorship & Book Banning

episode artwork featuring several examples of book banning

Every once in a while the world of weekly pop culture and the world of literary academia collide so totally that the world notices even outside of our show. Last week was one of those weeks. A school board in Tennessee voted to remove Maus, the critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize winning Holocaust memoir graphic novel, from its curriculum, thus sparking a United States — and in fact worldwide — debate on censorship in and book banning. But in truth, this is not a new debate. It is constantly being waged. However, in our current political system, obsessed with identity politics, culture wars, dog whistles, and performative outrage nebulous cultural concepts, book banning is increasingly becoming a powerful rhetorical weapon.

On this week’s episode, Mav, Wayne and Hannah are joined by retuning guest, Kathy Newman, professor of literature and cultural studies at Carnegie Mellon University. Kathy has been teaching a course on banned books for the last twenty years and is the perfect guest to help us sort through the controversy surrounding Maus, the history, causes and politics of book banning and censorship, its connection to other popular political hot potatoes such as critical race theory and marxism, and a discussion of some of the more commonly banned books. Listen and let us know your thoughts in comments below.

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