ROMLANG 498 - Senior Seminar in Romance Languages and Literatures
Fall 2022, Section 001 - AIDS, the Other Pandemic
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Romance Languages and Literatures (ROMLANG)
Department: LSA Romance Languages & Literatures
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Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Enforced Prerequisites:
RLL concentrators and senior standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:


Before there was Covid-19, there was AIDS. In fact, even though life-prolonging therapies have been available since 1996, approximately 700,000 people worldwide died of HIV-related illnesses in 2019, and 1.7 million became infected that year. In this course, we will focus primarily on the first 15 years of the known epidemic in Europe, Africa and Latin America, where the pandemic saw a surge of public discourses and counter-discourses that shaped how the crisis ultimately unfolded. Drawing from very diverse sources, we will analyze how scientific, political and popular representations of AIDS often recycled existing racist, homophobic, misogynistic and ableist tropes in order to exclude people most affected by the virus and reinforce the very forms of social exclusions that made them especially vulnerable in the first place. We will also look at resistant representations in literature and the visual arts and at the radical new forms of community-based activism that emerged at the time. Finally, we will reflect on how the AIDS crisis is being remembered (or not) today and what it can tell us about the pandemic we are now living through. Beyond the specifics of HIV/AIDS, our conversations will give us opportunities to reflect on the intersection of health and politics, the experience of social vulnerability, the power of grassroots activism, and the contested production of minority histories.

(Course taught in English)


ROMLANG 498 - Senior Seminar in Romance Languages and Literatures
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM

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