Upcoming Lecture: Indecent Science by David Kirby

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Wednesday, October 14 3:30 - 5pm

Stephen C. Hall Building, Room 102

215 Bobby Dodd Way

Cosponsors for the event: Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology; Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program; the School of History and Sociology; the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Graduate Studies.


Indecent Science: Religion, Science and Movie Censorship, 1930-1968

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 The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938), Possessed (1947), I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), and Last Man on Earth (1964) Kirby 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.

Biography of speaker: David A. Kirby was a practicing evolutionary geneticist before leaving bench science to become Senior Lecturer in Science Communication Studies at the University of Manchester. Several of his publications address the relationship between cinema, genetics, biotechnology and cultural meanings. He has also studied how media professionals utilize, negotiate and transform science in order to tell stories about science in movies and on television. His book Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists and Cinema examines collaborations between scientists and the entertainment industry in the production of movies and demonstrates how these fictional texts affect real world science and technology. He recently received an Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust to analyse the interactions among the biosciences, religion and entertainment media. He is currently writing a book titled Indecent Science: Religion, Science and Movie Censorship, 1930-1968 which will explore how movies served as a battleground over science’s role in influencing morality.

Learn more about David Kirby here.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Jessica Anderson
  • Created: 10/08/2015
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016


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