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Academics . Liberal Arts . Courses

Liberal Arts Courses

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.

Meet Your Faculty view all

Paul Hanson

Adjunct Faculty

I am an anthropologist and folklorist working in the United States and Madagascar. My PhD dissertation resear...more

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