These are examples of the relics of information control efforts past and present, showcased in our exhibit and exhibit catalog. You can pick up a copy of the catalog from the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center, or contact the assistant curator Julia Tomasson to request one by mail.

Explore the sections of the exhibit below.  The exhibit is open September 17 through December 14 2018, at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center. Can’t make it to Chicago? Contact us to request the exhibit catalog.

Censorship: Expectations and Realities

How does real historical censorship differ from what Orwell's vision teaches us to expect?

The Plural Inquisitions

The Inquisition was an enormous and complicated set of overlapping systems with evolving goals and conflicting authorities.

How do YOU Define Censorship?

Edge cases help us find the blurry edges of our own ideas of what is and is not censorship.

Censorship in Translation

From banning languages to tucking resistance in between the lines, translation has long been a tool of censorship, and a defense against it.

History of Fake News

Fake news is not new - from Shakespeare to the World Wars, sorting truth from falsehood in journalism has been one of the frontiers of information control.

Comic Book Censorship

Graphic stories are frequent targets of censorship, because of their visual format, political power, and association with children.

Censorship of the Classics

From bans to bowdlerizations, the treasures of ancient literature have faced every phase of Western censorship.

Internet Censorship

New information control challenges and possibilities of the digital age.

Toxic Ideas

Hobbes, Luther, Spinoza, Marx, Darwin: how people and states respond to explosive new ideas that challenge existing worldviews.

Art Censorship in Chicago

How art's power to provoke brings free speech challenges to every community.

Banned Bookcase: Tour of the Continents

An open stacks section where you can touch and examine books and materials banned or challenged in every inhabited continent.

Censorship in the Soviet Union

What does it mean for censorship to "succeed" or "fail" in a case like the USSR's unprecedented enormous efforts to control culture and expression?

Censorship in New Zealand

What censorship looks like in a culture very similar to the USA but without the First Amendment.

The Great Firewall of China

How the first semi-automated censorship system is moving the power to silence out of human hands.

The Rocky Birth of Copyright Law

The laws which govern intellectual property today accumulated over time, shaped by many different groups and interests.

The Great Fig-Leafing

From altering paintings to covering statues, various responses to the nude in art track cultures' comfort and discomfort with the body and its many meanings.

Censor's Desk

What did it feel like to be a professional censor? Sit down at our Censor's Desk to try your hand at expurgating by Inquisition guidelines, or redacting government documents.