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Poison, Filth, Trash: Modernism, Censorship and Resistance (EAS3252)

30 credits

Modernist authors and filmmakers pushed the boundaries of what was deemed acceptable in terms of racial, sexual, gender, age, national and class politics as well as aesthetics. As a result, they had to confront the threat and reality of censorship and repression. This module invites you to explore different forms of censorship and repression, ranging from psychological repression, self-censorship, and editorial interventions to postal seizures and government-imposed bans. You will learn about the reasons why certain texts were considered dangerous, obscene or immoral, engaging closely with ideologies of race, sexuality, gender, age, nation and class that underpin censorship and repression. You will examine transnational networks of circulation and explore the different strategies authors and filmmakers developed to resist censorship or to reveal the repressed contents of the human mind. You will consider the complex and often contradictory impact of censorship and debate whether there are contexts in which forms of repression are inevitable or even necessary.  You will also explore the histories behind concepts like freedom of speech and strategies like age restrictions and content warnings that are still relevant today.

This module is suitable for all students. You will have the chance to read literary and filmic texts in tandem with other relevant historical sources and theoretical debates.