August 26, 2001 05:35pm
Porn On The Curriculum In The US
Colleges in America are offering an increasing number of classes on porn. One scholar has even set up his own website which features X-rated versions of Shakespeare's plays called Bardcore.
A morality campaigner says the trend is dehumanizing those involved.
But Constance Penley, a film studies professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara, told the New York Post: "Pornography is part of the American heritage, whether people like it or not. Humour is a big part of porn and can trace its roots to vaudeville, burlesque and 'farmer's daughter' jokes."
Shakespearean scholar Richard Burt, an English professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has set up the naughtyprofessor.com website.
It features him and his wife in provocative poses and has pictures of him posing with topless porn stars Nina Hartley and Annie Sprinkle.
He says: "Shakespeare is everywhere in our culture and pornography is part of that culture. In Shakespearean plays, that's always the question: Do they have sex? In the 19th century, people thought Shakespeare was obscene. It is part of legitimate academic inquiry."
At Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Professor Hope Weissman's course called Pornography: Writing of Prostitutes has come under fire after parents learned students had to produce a pornographic work as their final project.
Critics of the courses include Patrick McGrath, of Morality in Media in New York, who says college professors teaching porn-related courses are oblivious to the harm they can cause.
"It dehumanizes everyone, men and women, participants and consumers," he says. "It turns women into objects and ignores the explosion in sex crimes, never mind AIDS."