COMM 2009 Cinema and Censorship

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102192

Coordinator Alex Ling Opens in new window

Description Censorship of the arts has long been a contentious issue. This subject examines the cultural contexts and debates surrounding censorship, as well as the institutions, policies, and people that figure prominently in the history of cinema censorship. Censorship discourses reveal shifts in how 'national morality' is constructed, and often display cultural anxieties about changing meanings of gender, sexuality, race, and class. This subject offers an historical survey of film censorship from the 1890s to today, utilising various theoretical approaches (feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theory, and cultural theory), with an emphasis on topics such as obscenity, pornography, violence, and blasphemy.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Audio Visual Studies

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject


Successful completion of 40 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical, cultural and theoretical context of censorship as well as its purpose and function;
  2. Appreciate changes and developments in censorship throughout the history of cinema;
  3. Demonstrate skills in research and critical reading in the fields of cinema studies and visual culture more broadly;
  4. Analyse and critically evaluate a range of texts important to the study of film and culture.

Subject Content

Module 1: Hollywood and the Motion Picture Production Code
Specific topics may include:
- Pre-code Hollywood cinema;
- Joseph Breen and the Motion Picture Production Code;
- From the MPPC to the MPAA;
- cinema and The culture Wars.
Module 2: Censorship in Australia
- History of the Australian Classificatory Board;
- Government v. Industry-regulated censorship;
- Refused Classification (RC) films;
- indigenous cinema and censorship.
Module 3: The Global Context
- Specific topics may include:
- Queer and alternative cinemas;
- The BBFC and the 'Video Nasty' debate;
- Political censorship in Indian cinema;
- Religious censorship in Iranian cinema;
- film Festival and Torrent culture.

Prescribed Texts

  • A Subject Reader prepared by the subject coordinator. Further reading resources will be made available on vUWS.