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The Latina/o AIDS Archive: A Cultural Recovery and Revisionary Project in Progress
The AIDS crisis is not over. The protease inhibitors made HIV/AIDS a treatable, chronic disease since 1996, but we must ask who has access to the health care system and the cocktail. The official story only showcased the experience of urban privileged white middle-class gay men. Minorities and women were marginalized and ignored. Puerto Rico and the Mexican Borderlands must be included in the AIDS archive since Latino/a bodies continually inhabited transnational spaces and circuits of migration that propagated the transmission of the virus since the beginning of the AIDS crisis. For many, addressing AIDS four decades into the epidemic, its effects on the Latina/o communities and familias is nothing but an anachronism. In this course students will visit alternative archives in order to recover the silenced history of the Latino/a AIDS crisis toward a revisioning of the hegemonic cultural narrative and rhetorical representation of the epidemic. Given that the Latino/a AIDS crisis remains untold, students will piece together the fragmentary narratives and images, reconsider critical moments, and collect the relegated voices of those who died and are still unaccounted for—los/as desaparecidos/as. Can the SIDA cultural production, material conditions, and lived experiences be recovered, touched, and felt to honor the dead? From an interdisciplinary perspective, this course will critically analyze film, documentaries, video, theater, solo performances, artwork, testimonials, interviews, poems, novels, memorials, the AIDS Quilt, and obituaries that document the Latino/a AIDS everyday experiences, survival practices, and artistic expressions. Among the topics to be covered are: the temporality of illness, mourning, memorialization, activism, and aesthetic intervention. The students will be introduced to the notions of “AmnesiAIDS” and “NostalgiAIDS” to theoretically understand a wide spectrum of conceptual issues such as memory, canonization, temporality, and historicism.
Format: seminar; discussion
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
attendance, class presentations, 2-page critical essays; a 5-page take-home midterm essay and a 10-page final researched archival project essay
LATS Core Electives