David Kirby: Indecent Science - Religion, Science and Movie Censorship

Date & time

5–6.30pm 25 February 2016

Event series

Tonight Visiting Fellow Dr David Kirby from the University of Manchester, Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, will give a guest seminar presentation.

From 1930 to 1968 movie studios sent their screenplays to be approved by censorship groups in the U.S. and U.K. including Hollywood’s official censorship body the “Hays Office”, the Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency and the British Board of Film Censors. This talk uses material from the archives of these organizations to explore how censorship groups modified cinematic narratives in order to tell what they considered to be more appropriate stories about science as a social, political and cultural force. Using films including Island of Lost Souls (1933), Possessed (1947), On the Beach (1959) and Planet of the Apes (1968) David will demonstrate how film censors considered the potential moral consequences of science and scientific ways of thinking including the theological implications of scientific research, the blasphemy of scientism, and the horror of scientific realism.

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