Subject ENGL30012 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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

On Campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5
Total Time Commitment: 102


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 670-327 Art/Pornography/Blasphemy/Propaganda
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


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.


Students who complete this subject will have:

  • a general understanding of how the category 'art' has been employed in the 20th century to legitimate certain cultural practices and 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 20th 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). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials are required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • 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) Norton Critical Edition, 2nd ed.

Films may include:

  • The Last Temptation of Christ
  • Blue Velvet

Music may include:

  • Nasty As They Wanna Be (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:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • 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.


Students who have completed 106-047 Art/Pornography/Blasphemy/Propaganda are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English
English Literary Studies Major
English and Theatre Studies
European Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major

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