Interview Preparation

Interviews have been the most difficult aspect of our research on the censorship of The Golden Compass thus far. Although I have been able to find specific names for many of the people involved in the case, it has been incredibly difficult to find their contact information.

After hours of searching, I found emails for two people directly involved with the case: Scott Millard, the Halton Catholic School Board’s Manager of Library Services, and Father David Wilhelm, a member of the Halton Catholic School Board. Father Wilhelm seconded the motion to approve the committee’s recommendation, which was defeated. Unfortunately, neither have responded to my emails yet.

Thanks to Dr. Hajo, I have been in contact with Dr. Patricia Ard. She is an expert in young adult literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey, and has done pervious research on censorship. Since she does not specifically study the censorship of religious texts, we tried to keep the questions general. We are looking forward to hearing her responses!

Jacob and I have developed the following interview questions for Dr. Ard:

  1. Please tell us a little about your academic background and your specific topics of interest as they pertain to young adult literature.  
  2. In your opinion, what is the primary reason why young adult literature is challenged?
  3. What are some of the common themes across censored texts that you have explored?
  4. Under what circumstances do you think censorship is a positive thing for children/young adults?
  5. Under what circumstances do you think censorship is a negative thing for children/young adults?
  6. How do values regarding censorship tend to be different between different groups, i.e. children/young adults, parents, teachers, and administrators? Is it important, unimportant, or somewhere in the middle?
  7. Do you think censorship benefits or hinders the education of young students?
  8. Are moral/religious values taught in schools? If so, how? Should moral/religious values be taught in schools, in your opinion?
  9. Do school teachers have a right or a duty to teach students things that their parents do not want them to know?
  10. What is your personal viewpoint regarding the censorship of The Golden Compass? Why?
  11. Do you have any additional comments on the censorship of the The Golden Compass, or censorship in general?

Jacob and I are still looking to secure another interviewee for our project. Jacob has taken a class with a Joshua Reichardt, a political science professor who specializes in Canadian politics. We are hoping he will give us some insight to the Canadian public school system, particularly with regard to Catholic public schools. This week, I will be stoping into the philosophy department office to see if there is anyone there who would be qualified to discuss the religious component of the case. Since Geneseo does not have a religious studies department, I figured this would be the next best thing.

While our first choice interviewees do not seem to be panning out, we do have some very good alternatives. I am just thankful that professors are willing to give up their time to help with this research. Any expert perspective will be a valuable addition to our project.


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