HIV/AIDS in the 21st Century

Memorialisation, Representation and Temporality

16-17 January, 2020

University of Manchester, UK

Deadline for submissions: Monday, 30 September, 2019

As we approach the third decade of the current century and the initial years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic become more deeply confined to the annals of history, scholarly and artistic interest in the virus appears to be thriving.

Initiatives such as the ACT UP oral history project, the 25th anniversary and revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America in London and New York, and countless documentary films from David Weissman’s We Were Here (2011) to Jim Hubbard’s United in Anger (2012), have all contributed to a renewed interest in the early days of the epidemic and, indeed, a fascination with the ways in which subsequent generations of gay and queer-identified youth have processed and negotiated its legacy. As such, questions have arisen regarding the representation of HIV/AIDS in contemporary culture.   

In what ways has the introduction of protease inhibitors affected the output of artists confronting HIV/AIDS? What are the ethical issues surrounding the depiction of the early years of the epidemic in film, art and theatre? What are some of the political questions surrounding the historicisation of HIV/AIDS in the twenty-first century? And does a traceable genealogy or heritage exist when it comes to HIV/AIDS activism and advocacy?

These are just some of the questions our conference aims to address by encouraging interdisciplinary discussion surrounding the memorialisation, representation and temporality of HIV/AIDS in the twenty-first century. Themes may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • The politics of representation
  • Archiving HIV/AIDS
  • Historicising HIV/AIDS beyond the white, male experience
  • HIV/AIDS activism from past to present  
  • HIV/AIDS and intergenerational discourses
  • Representing HIV/AIDS after the ‘protease moment’
  • Representing trauma
  • HIV/AIDS and temporality

To apply, please send a paper proposal of 300-400 words and a 150-word bio to by 30 September, 2019. Any enquiries can also be directed to this email address.

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