The AIDS Crisis is Not Over

The AIDS Crisis is Not Over
Issue number 140 (May 2021)
Abstract Deadline: September 1, 2019
Co-Edited by Emily K. Hobson and Dan Royles

This issue of the Radical History Review will examine the politics of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. While it has been almost forty years since doctors first identified the disease in 1981, new HIV infections are increasing in areas stricken by poverty and violent conflict. People with HIV/AIDS also face new threats from the Trump administration, which threatens to gut key programs that provide care and treatment, both in the United States and in the Global South.

At the same time, the history of AIDS activism has provided a new generation of activists with templates for grassroots resistance in the age of Trump. This new generation has been joined by veteran AIDS activists; in the United States, these connections have been particularly visible on the front lines of fights to protect the Affordable Care Act and to stop Republican-led tax reform in Congress. Intergenerational links are also reshaping documentary narratives, artistic representation, and relationships between the Global North and Global South.

This moment of peril and possibility calls out for new histories of HIV/AIDS. Although people of color, women, and the poor are significantly overrepresented among those affected by HIV/AIDS, they are underrepresented in historical scholarship on the pandemic. By placing the disease in historical perspective, we hope to better understand crises of health inequity in a neoliberal global age, as well as the sites and modes of resistance that activists and advocates have carved out in this context.

With all of this in mind, we seek essays that document the breadth and depth of radical responses to HIV/AIDS, at political and geographical scales ranging from the local to the global. These may include contributions that address connections between AIDS activism and other social movements both backwards and forwards, from struggles for black, women’s, and gay liberation to Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. Essays may also address the radical politics of AIDS media, from the agitprop of Gran Fury and DIVA TV to struggles over AIDS and the arts, including both conservative censorship and the Tacoma Action Collective’s response to the exhibit Art AIDS America. Contributions may also examine HIV/AIDS as part of histories and geographies of colonialism and race-making, including the contested sites of Haiti, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the politics of tourism, travel, and global commerce. Essays may also address AIDS and carcerality, including HIV criminalization laws, HIV/AIDS (activism) in prisons and jails, sex work, and HIV/AIDS in immigrant detention and control.

We will bring together scholars from a variety of disciplinary and geographic locations to advance radical histories of HIV/AIDS. Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Debates over the “origin of AIDS,” particularly in relationship to colonialism, geography, the human/animal boundary, and the racialization of the epidemic
  • HIV/AIDS activism, particularly including the circulation of tactics across political contexts, transnational connections, and responses in the global South
  • HIV/AIDS and people of color, particularly African American, Latinx, and Asian/Asian American communities and politics, and including transnationally
  • HIV/AIDS and women, including debates over transmission, women’s roles in HIV/AIDS activism, sex work, trans women, and family poverty
  • The place of HIVAIDS in LGBTQ history, including in relation to gay liberation, casual sex, radical sexual cultures, the rise of queer theory and politics, and homonormativity
  • HIV/AIDS and radical art and media, including as represented or misrepresented through exhibits, journalism and documentary accounts
  • HIV/AIDS and the law, including employment law, non-discrimination, and disability law
  • HIV/AIDS and health care, including universal health care, grassroots expertise, and relationships to “big pharma”
  • HIV/AIDS and labor, especially health care workers, unions, and voluntarism
  • HIV/AIDS in schools, sex education, and public education efforts
  • The political contexts of the epidemic, including neoliberalism, the New Right, globalization, and in contexts of socialist democracies or welfare states
  • Affective responses including shame, fear, pride, love, and affinity

The RHR seeks scholarly, monographic research articles, but we also encourage such contributions as photo essays; film, exhibit, theater, and book review essays; interviews; “conversations” between scholars and/or activists; brief interventions; and teaching notes and annotated course syllabi for our Teaching Radical History section. 

Procedures for submission of articles: By September 1, 2019, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish as an attachment to with “Issue 140 Abstract Submission” in the subject line. By October 15, 2019, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for full-length article submissions will be February 1, 2020.

Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word document along with the text. If chosen for publication, you will need to supply high-resolution image files (jpg or TIFF files at a minimum of 300 dpi) and secure permission to reprint the images.

Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 140 of the Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in May, 2021.

Abstract Deadline: September 1, 2019