This is a scholarly journal of the largest regional theatre organization in the U.S. The essays gathered together in Volume 15 of the annual journal ""Theatre Symposium"" investigate how, historically, the theatre has been perceived both as a source of moral anxiety and as an instrument of moral and social reform. The essays consider, among other subjects, ethnographic depictions of the savage ""other"" in Buffalo Bill's engagement at the Columbian Exposition of 1893; the so-called ""Moral Reform Melodrama"" in the nineteenth century; charity theatricals and the ways they negotiated standards of middle-class respectability; the figure of the courtesan as a barometer of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century moral and sexual discourse; Aphra Behn's subversion of Restoration patriarchal sexual norms in The Feigned Courtesans; and the controversy surrounding a production of Tony Kushner's ""Angels"" in America, during which officials at one of the nation's more prominent liberal arts colleges attempted to censor the production, a chilling reminder that academic and artistic freedom cannot be taken for granted in today's polarized moral and political atmosphere.
M. Scott Phillips is Associate Professor of Theatre at Auburn University. He is coauthor of Introducing Theatre with Joy H. Reilly and has published scholarly work in Theatre Studies, Modern Drama, and Theatre History Studies.