Censorship, Art + the Law
Course No. HCS 386 Credits: 3.0
Faculty Cynthia McGrae
This discussion-based class will explore the mythology of free speech for artists in America. From photographs of crucifixes submerged in urine, through the comedy of Lenny Bruce, threats in rap lyrics, a wedding cake for a gay wedding and a portrait of Emmitt Till painted by a white woman, when it comes to artistic expression, “free speech for all” has always meant “free speech for some.” Using the law as a foundation, we will examine the work of a wide variety of artists such as Mann, Diana, Serra, Mapplethorpe and Krafft to challenge the limits of free speech. Students will examine where the beliefs came from and how a love for and a belief in free speech for all persists as a concept. There are few right or wrong answers. Instead, discussions in this class will center around developing one’s own personal belief system and learning to articulate and defend that system.
I am an anthropologist and folklorist working in the United States and Madagascar. My PhD dissertation resear...more
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