Literary Café: Freedom and Censorship

Tuesday June 22nd 2021 | 20:00 – 21:30 | Zoom |

In 1989, the the Supreme Leader of Iran issued a Fatwa on Salman Rushdie, on basis of blasphemy against Islam and calling for muslims to kill him or point him out to others to do so if they cannot kill him themselves. Harry Potter is banned in many schools around the world for the portrayal of witchcraft, and in 2017, 2018, and 2019 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was on the top ten list of most challenged books for containing drug use, violence, profanity and containing an anti-police message. In the western world, there aren’t many books that get banned anymore.
All throughout history, books and other literary texts have been banned by instances such as the religious instutions, secular governments, or even regional schools. But censorship in literature is more than just banning books and burning them. It’s also self-censorship, where the author might censor themselves before publishing their work. What also exists is the so-called “no platforming” where the public doesn’t give the author a platform anymore. In short, there are a lot of grey areas within censorship way beyond banning books. What is censorship in the modern age? How has it changed throughout history, and how has it stayed the same? And how does censorship interfere with freedom of speech? Where do we draw the line of what is okay to publish and what isn’t?

This and more will be discussed with Dr. Sonja Kleij, professor at the University of Utrecht and the course Banned Books, and an expert on censorship throughout history.Join us on June 22 at 20:00 for this Literary Café on censorship. The evening will consist of a discussion with Dr. Kleij on what censorship is exactly and the different grey areas that exist, and later on a discussion in breakout rooms where we’ll discuss several statements.

This evening will take place via Zoom! You can sign up with the following link until June 22nd 15:00: https://forms.gle/Z7ZbbP4PfQLhak1J7