Visible Secularism: Religious Ridicule, Blasphemy, and the Cartoonist’s Art

Lecture Description

The “Cartoon Wars” of the last two decades find a granddaddy in the controversies generated by freethought cartoons in the late nineteenth century. The work of the Missouri caricaturist Watson Heston, in particular, provoked now very familiar debates about whether free expression includes a right to offend religious sensibilities. Were cartoons a powerful medium for advancing secularist ideals or counterproductive in their provocations?


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