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Degradation – What the History of Obscenity Tells Us about Hate Speech - NYU Press Scholarship Online
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Degradation: What the History of Obscenity Tells Us about Hate Speech

Kevin W. Saunders


Throughout history obscenity has not really been about sex but about degradation. Sexual depictions have been suppressed when they were seen as lowering the status of humans, furthering our distance from the gods or God and moving us toward the animals. In the current era, when we recognize ourselves and both humans and animals, sexual depiction has lost some of its sting. Its degrading role has been replaced by hate speech that distances groups, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, not only from God but from humanity to a subhuman level. This book traces the legal ... More

Keywords: degradation, sexual depiction, hate speech, racist speech, homophobic speech, sexist speech, obscenity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780814741443
Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016 DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814741443.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kevin W. Saunders, author