Subject 670-327 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually 12.5 points of first year English, or 50 points of first year arts including at least 25 points from a specified list of subject areas for students completing a cultural studies major.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof David Bennett


David Bennett

Subject Overview:

This subject provides an introduction to the history and politics of censorship of the arts in the West since the 1890s. It examines the contested boundaries between art and its presumed 'others' - pornography, blasphemy and propaganda - by focusing on certain celebrated cases of censorship of literary texts, visual art, film and popular music. Students completing the subject should gain an understanding of the processes by which censorship operates; its role in defining 'artistic merit'; and some of the ways in which the concept of 'aesthetic value' has been employed to defend cultural artefacts against charges of obscenity, blasphemy and/or propaganda over the past century.

Objectives: a general understanding of how the category 'art' has been employed in the twentieth century to legitimate certain cultural practices and to defend them against censure and censorship;
a general understanding of the processes and mechanisms by which censorship - communal, political and legal - operates;
an understanding of the historically and culturally variable nature of taboos on forms of sexual, religious and political representation and expression;
a detailed understanding of certain celebrated twentieth-century cases of the policing and contesting of the borders between 'art' and its presumed others: pornography, blasphemy and propaganda.

A 5-minute class paper presentation 10%, an essay of 1500 words 40% (due mid-semester) and a second essay of 2500 words 50% (due at the end of semester). A hurdle requirement of class participation and attendance at a minimum of nine tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available. Any edition of the following texts is acceptable:

  • American Psycho (B E Ellis)
  • Unbearable Lightness of Being (M Kundera)
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover (D H Lawrence)
  • Story of O (Part 1) (P Reage)
  • Satanic Verses (S Rushdie)
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (A Solzhenitsyn)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (O Wilde)
  • The Last Temptation of Christ, Blue Velvet (Films)
  • Nasty As They Wanna Be (Music Album: The 2 Live Crew)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • develop critical self-awareness and shape and strengthen persuasive arguments;

  • communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.


This subject can be credited as an elective subject towards the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Gender Studies.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English
English Literary Studies Major
European Studies
Gender Studies

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