Literature of the AIDS Pandemic (LIT2513.02)

Michael Dumanis

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the AIDS epidemic was regarded as a global catastrophe with no hope of remedy. For many, the disease was an uncomfortable subject, one that some at first refused to address by name and others chose to ignore entirely, an illness intertwined in the collective imagination with mainstream culture’s perceptions of, and fears of, gay culture. In this course, we will read closely some of the writing produced in response to the AIDS pandemic, with a focus on poetry and dramatic literature, over the past four decades as we familiarize ourselves with the pandemic’s early history and its depictions in 1980’s mainstream media culture. Authors we may consider include Justin Chin, Pearl Cleage, Tory Dent, Melvin Dixon, Thom Gunn, Essex Hemphill, Larry Kramer, Tony Kushner, D.A. Powell, Susan Sontag, Paula Vogel, and John Weir. Please note that some of the literature we will read contains graphic descriptions, and that this course will actively and frequently address sensitive, potentially upsetting subjects.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Hybrid in-person and remote, with faculty in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
W/F 8:30AM-10:20AM (2nd seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Literature
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