Spanning activist works, experimental film, Hollywood dramas and documentary, this course examines the role of moving images in reckoning with 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: the past decade has yielded a new wave of artworks dedicated to memorializing the crisis, while for many communities, the crisis never ended. 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 and intensive discussion.
The Class: Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: Discussion facilitation, attendance and participation, short response papers, long research paper
Prerequisites: ARTH 102 or permission of instructor; GRADART exempt from ARTH 102 prerequisite
Enrollment Preferences: senior majors
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This is an intersectional course in LGBTQ+ art history, with an examination of the relationship between sexuality, gender, ethnicity and power within AIDS activism and the AIDS crisis.