"I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT": A HISTORY OF OBSCENITY & PORNOGRAPHY IN THE UNITED STATES

HISTORY 30GS

When Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart was asked to describe his test for obscenity in 1964, he responded: "I know it when I see it." But do we? What is pornography and how has it changed over the last two and a half centuries? What role does pornography play in our society and how is our society reflected in its contents? This course seeks to explore these questions and more and actively engages in the debate and controversies inherent to discussions of pornography in America. In this course we will engage with primary sources to track the changing nature of pornographic material- written, physical, and visual- and to recognize the way pornography reflects changes in the wider social milieu, as well as secondary and theoretical sources to contextualize and provoke our understanding of patterns of pornography use and regulation. It is likely that our definition of pornography will change over the semester- our initial definition is broadly bounded by material considered pornographic by its contemporaries and that which is created with the intent of erotic simulation.
Course Attributes: AS HUM

Section 01

"I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT": A HISTORY OF OBSCENITY & PORNOGRAPHY IN THE UNITED STATES - 01
INSTRUCTOR: Barry
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