IP Lunch and Learn: Obscenity in Law and Culture in the Age of Anthony Comstock

IP Lunch and Learn: Obscenity in Law and Culture in the Age of Anthony Comstock

When

When: 
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 12:45pm

Where

Where: 
Rich Room at UNH School of Law 2 White St. Concord, NH 03301

RSVP by March 22

Lust on Trial: Obscenity in Law and Culture in the Age of Anthony Comstock 

FREE lunch will be served! Prize drawing for students who RSVP and attend event!! 

In 1873, the United States government first established laws and an infrastructure for policing obscenity largely under the discretion of Anthony Comstock, an evangelical proselytizer against the dangers of lust. The Comstock Laws, and the quasi-private organization charged with enforcing them, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, both followed on the tradition of English Common Law and private moral reform societies. As Comstock and his puritanical supporters were soon to discover, however, many Americans valued liberty and profits far more than purity. Censorship thus fomented far more obscenity than it suppressed, providing a cautionary tale for our own era. 

Amy Werbel is Associate Professor of the History of Art at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Leon Levy Senior Fellow at the Frick Center for the History of Collecting. Her research investigates sexuality, law, and visual culture in the United States before World War I, and publications include Thomas Eakins: Art, Medicine, and Sexuality in 19th-Century Phila-delphia (Yale University Press, 2007), and Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018). Professor Werbel is a graduate, magna cum laude, of Har-vard and Radcliffe Colleges (B.A. 1986) and Yale University (PhD, 1996), and served as a Fulbright Scholar in China, 2011-2012.