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The Thought of AIDS:
Humanities and the Epidemic

April 5, 2013

Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street
9:30am - 5:00pm

A copy of the schedule

A photo gallery of this event.


"Epidemics of Memory"
Christopher Castiglia
Pennsylvania State University

Christopher Castiglia is Liberal Arts Research Professor of English at Penn State University.  He is author, most recently, of If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past (with Chris Reed) and Interior States: Institutional Consciousness and the Inner Life of Democracy.


Christopher Reed
Pennsylvania State University

Christopher Reed is Professor of English and Visual Culture at the Pennsylvania State University. In addition to If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past, co-authored with Christopher Castiglia, he has published Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas, articles about queer space in the built environment, and books on topics ranging from the Bloomsbury Group to Japonisme.  

“Response:  How Can We Not Speak of HIV/AIDS?”
David L. Clark
McMaster University

David L. Clark is Professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies and Associate Member of the Health Studies Program in the Department of Health, Aging, and Society at McMaster University, where he teaches courses in critical theory, critical animal studies, narratives of illness, and the histories of HIV/AIDS activism.  Last year he was George Whalley Visiting Professor in Romanticism at Queens University and Lansdowne Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria.  Recent and forthcoming publications include, respectively:  “‘Not ours, this death, to take into our bones:’  The Postanimal after the Posthuman” (World Picture, 2012) and  Bodies and Pleasures in Late Kant (Stanford UP).

"AIDS, Immateriality, and the Good Death: Name, Number, and Transgender Life in India in the Wake of Global Health" 
Lawrence Cohen
University of California/Berkeley 

Lawrence Cohen is the Sarah Kailath Professor of India Studies in the departments of Anthropology, and of South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley. A medical anthropologist by training, his work spans research on emergent rural and urban sexual politics in South Asia, on aging and contested practices of care, and on the political economy of organic form and the rendering "bioavailable" of persons and populations. He is the author of No Aging in India and the editor with Annette Leibing of Thinking about Dementia.

“The Archival Turn, the Affective Turn, and the Ongoing Vitality of AIDS Activist Cultures”
Ann Cvetkovich
University of Texas/Austin

Ann Cvetkovich is Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  She is the author of Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture and Victorian Sensationalism (Rutgers, 1992); An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003); and Depression: A Public Feeling(Duke, 2012).  She co-edited (with Ann Pellegrini) “Public Sentiments,” a special issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, and (with Janet Staiger and Ann Reynolds) Political Emotions(Routledge, 2010).   She has been coeditor, with Annamarie Jagose, of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Her current writing projects focus on the current state of LGBTQ archives and the creative use of them by artists to create counter-archives and interventions in public history.

"Symbiosis as Immunology"
Bishnupriya Ghosh
University of California/Santa Barbara

Bishnupriya Ghosh teaches postcolonial theory, literature, and global media studies in the English Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently a fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, where she is working on a comparative study of pandemic media in the United States, South Asia, and South Africa titled The Virus Touch: Living with Epidemics.

“ACT UP, Racism, and the Question of How to Use History”
Deborah Gould

University of California/Santa Cruz

Deborah Gould is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Affiliated Faculty in the Departments of Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, and Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her book Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP’s Fight Against AIDS (University of Chicago Press, 2009) won the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s Political Sociology Section (2010), the Ruth Benedict Book Prize from the American Anthropological Association (2010), and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies (2010). She is currently working on a project on political hope and despair and on another that looks at political affinities and reciprocities across chasms of difference. She was involved in ACT UP/Chicago for many years and is a founding member of the research/art/activism collaborative group, Feel Tank Chicago.

"Risk, Genre, and Cultural Annihilation"
Cindy Patton
Simon Fraser University

Cindy Patton holds the Canada Research Chair in Community, Culture and Health at Simon Fraser University, where she is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. A long-time AIDS activist and scholar, her published works span three decades. Sex and Germs: The Politics of AIDS (South End Press, 1985) won the American Library Association Gay Book Award and her documentation and analysis of the social and cultural aspects of the epidemic continued with Inventing AIDS (Routledge, 1990); Last Served? Gendering the HIV Pandemia (Falmer, 1994); Fatal Advice: How Safe Sex Education Went Wrong (Duke: 1996); Globalizing AIDS (Minnesota, 2002); as well as works in post-colonial theory (Queer Diasporas, ed. with Benigno Sanchez Eppler, Duke 2000); race, affect and cinema (Cinematic Identities, Minnesota, 2007); and women's health (Global Science/Women's Health, ed. with Helen Loshny, Teneo 2008) and the transformation of clinical relationship (Rebirth of the Clinic, Minnesota 2010). Her newest essays concern the ethics and pragmatics of "treatment as prevention" approaches to the HIV pandemic, and she is completing two books over the next 18 months, one on gay porn films and sexual culture of the early 1970s and the other on the moral terrain-building of the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

“ACT UP/Feel Up:  Remembering ACT UP’s Body Politics"
Kendall Thomas

Columbia University

Kendall Thomas is Nash Professor of Law and co-founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia University in the City of New York. His teaching and research interests include U.S. and comparative constitutional law, human rights, legal philosophy, feminist legal theory, Critical Race Theory and Law and Sexuality.

Thomas has been Visiting Professor at Stanford Law School, and Visiting Professor in American Studies and Afro-American Studies at Princeton University. He is a co-editor of Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Founded the Movement (The New Press, 1996) and What's Left of Theory? (Routledge Press, 2000).

Thomas was an inaugural recipient of the Berlin Prize Fellowship of the American Academy in Berlin and a founding member of the Majority Action Caucus of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, Sex Panic! and the AIDS Prevention Action League. He is a former member and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Gay Men's Health Crisis.

"Sudden Flowers: AIDS Orphans and the Work of Mourning"
Dagmawi Woubshet

Cornell University

Dagmawi Woubshet is assistant professor of English at Cornell University where he teaches courses in African American and comparative African Diaspora literature and culture. His essays have appeared in Transition, Callaloo, and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Looking for the Dead: Black Queer Mourning in the Early Era of AIDS (Johns Hopkins University Press, fall 2013).

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Initiative , the Starr Lectureship, Department of English, Modern Culture and Media, Watson Institute, Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Comparative Literature, International Affairs and the Cogut Center for the Humanities.