Indecent Science: Religion, Science and Movie Censorship, 1930-1968
Dr David Kirby
Dr David Kirby, who is a member of the History of Science, Technology & Medicine (HSTM) Research Theme. The seminar will take place on Friday 6 November, 3-4pm, in Michael Smith Lecture Theatre. The seminar is scheduled to take place just prior to FLS Happy Hour to allow discussions and networking to continue after the actual presentation.
David’s presentation will be entitled ‘Indecent Science: Religion, Science and Movie Censorship, 1930-1968’. Relevant outputs are listed below:
• Kirby, D.A. (2016) Indecent Science: Religion, Science and Movie Censorship, 1930-1968, book proposal under review with University of Chicago Press.
• Kirby, D.A. (2016) “Playing God: Religious Influences on the Depictions of Science in Mainstream Movies,” in ‘Here be Monsters’: Science, Politics and the Dilemmas of Openness, B. Nerlich, A. Smith & S. Raman (eds.), Manchester: Manchester University Press: (in press).
• Kirby, D.A. (2015) “Beautifully Disturbing: Micro-cinematography and Title Design in Hollywood Cinema,” in Epistemic Screens: Science and the Moving Image, S. Curtis, O. Gaycken & V. Hediger (eds.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press: (in press).
• Kirby, D.A., A.C. Chambers & W.R. Macauley (2015) “What Entertainment Can Do for Science, and Vice Versa,” Research Fortnight, 459: 22.
• Kirby, D.A. (2014) “Censoring Science in 1930s and 1940s Hollywood Cinema,” in Hollywood Chemistry, K. Grazier, D. Nelson, J. Paglia & S. Perkowitz (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press: 229-240.
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 Frankenstein (1931), Quatermass Experiment (1955), and Inherit the Wind (1960) I will demonstrate how 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.