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Story: Nov 18, 2014

New film studies prof helps students appreciate film as art ...

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CIA Exhibition: Nov 07, 2014

Fall 2014 Exhibitions

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Students capture two of the top prizes in museum's surreal d...

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Student Holiday Craft Sale

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Registration opens on Monday, Nov. 25 for the Cleveland Institute of Artís 2D3D national art and design competition for high school students. There are 13 cash ...

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CIA again named to "Best in the Midwest" list

Academics . Liberal Arts . Courses

Liberal Arts Courses

Censorship, Art, and the Law

Course No. HCS 386  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Cynthia McGrae

This course will cover the history of censorship in America. We will begin with the language of the First Amendment. We will then study the evolution of the definition of obscenity starting with the Comstack Laws and moving through the current Supreme Court test for determining whether an expression is obscene. We will look at the laws surrounding child pornography as well as hate speech and art that incite violence. For each of these categories of expression, we will discuss anecdotal applications of the First Amendment using artists such as Mapplethorpe, Serrano, Ligon, Zimmerman, Scott, Diana and Finley. While the primary focus of the class will be on government action, we will also look at examples of self censorship by the entertainment industry and public galleries. Finally, we will finish with an overview of the Patriot Act, its current applications and its implications for our future freedom of expression. The question underlying all of the historical context, anecdotal applications and the current law is why do we censor? Are there ever legitimate justifications for censorship and if so, how do we, as a society, draw those lines? In addressing these issues, we will study in depth the feminist anti-pornography movement, excerpts from Susan Sontag's On Photography, and the outcry over music lyrics post Columbine.

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Mark Bassett

Lecturer

News item: On June 11, 2013, Mark Bassett's 1985 Ph.D. dissertation, "John Horne Burns: A Critical Biography,...more

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