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Spanning activist works, experimental film, Hollywood dramas and documentary, this course examines the role of moving images in the global AIDS crisis, its aftermath, and its ongoing aftershocks. The AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s was, in the words of Larry Kramer, a ‘plague’ of epic proportions, with an entire generation obliterated before it could reach maturity. And yet, the plague years also spawned a remarkable amount of creative and activist image-making aimed at fighting, mourning, and grappling with AIDS. Now, we find ourselves in another pivotal moment: while the past decade has provoked a new wave of AIDS historiography, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused AIDS to reverberate with even greater force. Together, we will ask difficult and probing questions about this phenomenon called the ‘AIDS epidemic,’ examining the role of art in frontline activism, the ethics of AIDS historiography, mainstream visions of the AIDS body, and the need for a diversity of AIDS narratives. This seminar-style course will combine weekly screenings with readings, short writing assignments, student-led discussion, and a final research project of the student’s design. In order to facilitate robust discussions and maximize student and faculty safety, the majority of this course will occur online. It will contain some in-person experiences when possible.
Format: seminar; This course will be largely conducted online, in order to facilitate robust discussions and maximize student and faculty safety. It will contain some in-person experiences when possible.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Students will be evaluated according to the following criteria: weekly attendance, readings and participation in seminar discussion; leading class discussion once during the semester; 3 short response papers; one paper of 20+ pages of original student research.
MA student, Art History or Studio Art major, or instructor permission
MA students first, followed by Art History and Studio Art majors
Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Students will be required to conduct regular writing assignments which will culminate in a graduate-level research paper.
This course explores an epidemic that had devastating effects on LGBTQ+ people, and has disproportionately affected communities of color. Questions of difference, power, and equity are absolutely central to the course.
ARTH post-1800 Courses