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Lesson Plans

Re: censorship

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Andrea Dunmire (artshui)
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 12:46:03 EST

>photography teacher has been told that she may not use any books which
>contain photographs of nude figures. She is very discouraged because all
>the history of photo books that she owns and depends upon contain at least
>some nude images. It is not as though she wants to showcase these images;
>she just wants to be able to have books about famous photographers in the
>art room so the students can do research.

Your argument should be that these things are part of the history of the
development of photography. To teach any subject, a foundation must be laid
and growth occurs from there. We can't know where we are going until we
understand from where we have come. This would not be expected or requested
of any other subject area. Imagine teaching our history without learning
about the horrors of the wars we have fought, the mistakes and advances we
have made, and the results of each. Depictions of nudes are a part of the
history of art. The human body is considered beautiful (or should be) and,
best of all, we all have one!

>Have any of you been restricted by your administrators from
>using books which may contain these types of images? Do you have policy
>statements about how your art department feels and handles this subject?

When we wrote our current curriculum (gr. 1-6), which includes supplementing
lessons and researching on the internet, computers with internet access were
provided for us. I was asked by my principal how I intended to handle the
issue of nudity that was sure to appear from time to time on the large class
monitor. I told her what I stated earlier in this post and that I would
discuss with the kids how artists felt about the human form and why they
chose to depict it. I have told them that this has been done since the
beginning of recorded time and will continue to be as the human body is a
beautiful, aesthetic thing.
I got no arguments and have no problem in my classroom when the issue
arises. I also treat it very matter-of-factly and act very surprised when I
get an "inappropriate" response from a student.
I use both reproductions of nudes, images from the internet and books as
This isn't something that I do on a daily basis, just when necessary to
develop a lesson. Also, I would not allow students to look through books of
images without me so we can discuss responses and I can "educate" when
>Censorship does not belong in a school.

Good luck.

Andrea in Pa.

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