HomeSymposium October 1, 2015

Symposium October 1, 2015

FITCHBURG, MASS – The Amelia C. Galluci Library Archives and English Studies Department hosts a half-day symposium October 1st, 2015 at Fitchburg State University to celebrate the release of a digital archive exhibit of Robert Cormier’s work and convene scholars of censorship and young adult fiction.

Drs. Annamary Consalvo and Elise Takehana have assembled novel typescripts, essay drafts, letters, speeches, photographs, student artifacts, and historical news coverage of Robert Cormier’s work as it pertains to censorship and the importance of reading for young adults.  Particular attention has been paid to his three most often taught novels The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese, and Fade.

The symposium will feature keynote speaker Katherine Wisser, Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College. Two panel conversations follow. The first addresses the pervasive problems surrounding censorship from regional, historical, and literary perspectives. The second panel highlights the collection of Robert Cormier’s work, Fitchburg State’s acquisition of his papers, and the present use of the archive. Closing the event is a reading and discussion with YA author emily danforth, whose book, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, was banned by Delaware’s Cape Henlop Board of Education.

Full program available as PDF download here

Video recordings of symposium available here

Featured speakers and panelists:

emily m. danforth’s debut novel, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, was winner of the 2013 Montana Book Award and a finalist for the William C. Morris Award and a Lambda Literary Award. emily is an Assistant Professor of English-Creative Writing at Rhode Island College and a recent MacDowell Fellow. Her second novel, Side Talks With Girls, is forthcoming from HarperCollins.

Katherine Wisser, Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, teaches and researches the organization of information, archival description, metadata and the history of libraries. She has an MA in American History from the University of New Hampshire, an MSLS and a Ph.D. in Information Science from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Angie Miller, the 2011 NH Teacher of the Year, a TED speaker, and a writer, is a 7-12 librarian in Meredith, NH who has fought censorship in her own classroom. She serves as advocacy chair on the NH School Library Media Specialist Association, supporting censorship issues at the state level.

Angela Pitrone is a secondary English teacher at Belmont High School in New Hampshire, having recently completed a year teaching in the United Arab Emirates at a semi-private STEM school for Emirati nationals.  Angela is currently pursuing research regarding the role of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation in academic achievement among adolescents.

Daniel Sarefield teaches ancient history and Latin at Fitchburg State. Dr. Sarefield’s research revolves around religions, rituals, and books. He has presented at conferences across the U.S. and Europe and published works on the practice of book burning in ancient Rome, on which he is currently completing a scholarly monograph.

Laura Baker teaches American history and history education courses at Fitchburg State University. She directs the university's Oral History Project, the goal of which is to record and preserve oral histories documenting personal perspectives about the university and communities in the Fitchburg area.

Chris Cormier Hayes is the Coordinator of the Writing Center and an English and Writing instructor at Simmons College in Boston.  She likes to explore how graphic novels probe the issues of identity, race, and gender." 

Katherine O’Toole Zephir, an Instructional Services Librarian at the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library at Fitchburg State University, provides library instruction and reference services to the university community. She is interested in the role libraries play in the censorship debate as well as the importance of equal and open access to information.

Asher Jackson is the archivist for the University Archives & Special Collections at the Gallucci-Cirio library, where the Cormier collection is housed.  His primary area of professional and scholarly interest is in the preservation and curation of digital materials.

Robert Foley is the retired director of the Gallucci-Cirio Library of Fitchburg State University. He was responsible for establishing the Archives and Special Collections department with a goal to support the preservation of the records of local authors, organizations and the University and encourage research by providing classes and online access to the documents.

Further Reading

NCTE Position Statement - Student's Right to Read

NCTE Support for Banned Books Week

NCTE List of Challenged Titles 2004-2014