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"A writer should cause trouble."

Henry A. Giroux donates his archives to McMaster University Library

October 21, 2016

From his pioneering work as an educational and cultural theorist, to his writings on youth culture, media studies, race studies and the state of public and higher education in the United Sates, Giroux says the archive exemplifies what, over the years, has become the goal of his work - to bring debates on pressing social issues out of academia and into the public realm.

“The archive shows how I was responding to very specific periods and social problems in the political academic world,” he says. “What this offers to young scholars is both a trajectory and a process by which these subjects were engaged and it opens up the historical period in which I was writing. This is not just private work – this represents a mirror to the outside world at that particular time and how I moved from being strictly an academic writer to one who started writing more publicly.”

The archive contains manuscripts and articles written, or edited by Giroux, as well as books from Giroux’s own library – complete with handwritten notes – that informed his work. The collection also contains personal correspondence, including letters from influential philosopher, educator and social theorist, Paulo Freire – a colleague and mentor to Giroux – as well as a number of the many awards Giroux has received throughout his career.

“In the tradition of great public intellectuals like Bertrand Russell, Henry’s work addresses complex social issues in an accessible way, seeking to elevate public discourse and affect social change,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian. “Henry is among the most influential cultural theorists in the world today whose work has inspired students, scholars and citizens alike – we are fortunate to house the archives of such a prolific and distinguished scholar.”

“I hope people will come away and learn something from it, and use it in their own work,” he says. “I hope that it’s not just dead time for them, that it collects in their head in a way that says, “Wow, this is the kind of model I’m interested in. This is what I want to do, I want to make an impact on the world.’”

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