L&L - Lust on Trial: Obscenity in Law & Culture in the Age of Anthony Comstock

Thursday, March 28, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
UNH Law School
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Connolly, Lauri
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The Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property Lunch & Learn with Amy Werbel

Rich Room (204), 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
FREE lunch will be served!
RSVP by March 21st:  http://bit.ly/2SkdXfD 
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 Philadelphia (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 Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges (B.A. 1986) and Yale University (PhD, 1996), and served as a Fulbright Scholar in China, 2011-2012.


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