Over the past week, Olivia and I have prepared to interview Dr. Lisa Eickholdt, an Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville. While it’s unclear what position she held at the time based on our existing context, Dr. Eickholdt reportedly served as “a witness for the school board” during the Gwinnett County Superior Court hearing, the fourth of Laura Mallory’s successive attempts at challenging the Harry Potter series, and she features prominently in the Loganville Tribune’s interview with Mallory in June of 2007. While we would like to hear from someone with a closer connection to the cases before we exceed our deadline, we are hoping that Dr. Eickholdt will help us better construct a kind of profile of Mallory’s opposition, in the sense that she represented an argument against Mallory’s challenge to the texts. According to the interview, Eickholdt’s admission that she had “read the books aloud to children with reading difficulties” was a key element in Mallory’s assertion that the books “were being used as [an instructional] text.”
We have been fortunate that Dr. Eickholdt’s current position as a college professor has streamlined the interview process, providing us with an active and publicly available email at which to reach her, as well as a general idea of her regular schedule. To prepare for the interview, Olivia and I drafted several open-ended questions pertaining to Eickholdt’s role in the Mallory cases, her background in education, and her place in the local community. We were unfortunately constrained by Eickholdt’s limited memory of specific events during the hearing, given that it took place almost a decade ago, and we chose to focus accordingly on more general questions related to her initial impressions of Mallory, the hearing, and literary censorship as a whole. Taken together, our available articles seem to indicate that Gwinnett county citizens were mostly opposed to Mallory’s challenge; we are hoping that a series of questions regarding Eickholdt’s personal identity will help better define the contrast between Mallory and the wider community, giving us a clearer understanding of why and how she continually opposed the local consensus. Moreover, we are hoping that Eickholdt will recall enough about the superior court hearing that we will be able to construct an adequate sequence of events based on her account, as few detailed written accounts seem to currently exist beyond curated news articles.
When I originally emailed Dr. Eickholdt I was considered the primary point-of-contact and executor of this portion of the project. Given that our current project contract does allow for a degree of flexibility in determining which of us conducts interviews, and given that I will be unavailable during Dr. Eickholdt’s free time, as of now Olivia will be conducting this interview on Thursday pending Eickholdt’s consideration. This works to our credit in maintaining separate research topics and an equitable balance of labor, considering that our contract sees Olivia working primarily with Gwinnett county contacts, where my focus is prescribed to be mainly analytical. In any case, the results should be similar, given that we have both contributed to our baseline interview questions.