Course Schedule

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IPLS 492-0 : Special Topics in Liberal Studies: Censorship in Chicago


The early part of the 21st century has witnessed a multitude of crises—humanitarian, ecological, political, and epidemiological, to name just a few. These challenging events have, in turn, tested Americans’ commitment to freedom of speech in various venues: “infotainment” news; social media, where verified eyewitness reports and bot-generated misinformation both thrive; and political speech on college campuses. In an effort to historicize these recent First Amendment trials, this course will take as a case study the city of Chicago. It will examine the city of Chicago and various forms of cultural censorship which have taken place in the city since the 1890s. There will be a special emphasis on motion picture censorship, the role of arcades and nickelodeons in this debate, and the relationship between the police department, city politics, progressive reformers and women’s organizations in the censorship question. We will also be addressing censorship of works of art such as sculptures, Beat poetry, the collection of the Chicago Public Library and the recent controversy over book bans. Students will complete a quarter long original research project during this class that answers a historical question that helps to add to the scholarship of this rich element of Chicago history.

Spring 2024
Start/End DatesDay(s)TimeBuildingSection
03/25/24 - 06/08/24Days: TBA
Time: TBA 50
InstructorCourse LocationStatusCAESAR Course ID
Butters, Gerald
Chicago Campus
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