Graduate Student Work-in-Progress – Thinking Like a Virus: Rhetoric, Aesthetics, and AIDS Literature

Event Photo
February 22nd, 2018

Location: Clark Hall Room 206, 11130 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106

Event Photo: “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991 by Felix Gonzalez-Torres

What does it mean to call a text “AIDS Literature”? What is the effect of applying this label to a text that does not attempt a faithful representation of the AIDS Crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, but instead deploys HIV and AIDS as literary metaphors? By analyzing texts such as the later experiments of William S. Burroughs, the novels of Kathy Acker, and the artwork and memoirs of David Wojnarowicz, English PhD Candidate Michael Chiappini seeks to trouble the prevailing understanding of AIDS literature by refocusing our attention to texts that do not aspire to narrative fidelity to the Crisis, but instead employ HIV and AIDS for the sake of artistic experimentation.

Pre-lecture reception begins at 4:15 pm.