MW 9:30 - 11am
During the first years of the HIV/AIDS crisis, in the eighties and early nineties, activists marched and protested across major cities demanding government action, some of them still hooked up to IV drips and oxygen tanks; alongside them, artists, filmmakers and authors continued creating, many up until their literal last breath. This course examines cultural responses to HIV/AIDS in the US during those first fifteen years of the epidemic, prior to the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy. In it, we will consider how sexuality, race, gender, class, and geography shaped the experience of HIV/AIDS and the cultural production surrounding it. We will not only analyze how mass media fed into the stigmatization and blame surrounding the disease; we will also study how activist groups mobilized art to try to effect change in public consciousness and policy. Finally, we will discuss the legacy of these cultural responses with respect the communities most affected by the disease today. Materials include mainstream press coverage, film, theater, television, popular music, comic books, literature, and visual art.