Research

Treatment Action Campaign AIDS activists, reinterpreting Sam Nzima's iconic photograph of Hector Pieterson, Mbuyisa Makhubo, and Antoinette Sithole from the Soweto uprising. Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action Archives, Johannesburg.

Treatment Action Campaign AIDS activists, reinterpreting Sam Nzima's iconic photograph of Hector Pieterson, Mbuyisa Makhubo, and Antoinette Sithole from the Soweto uprising. Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action Archives, Johannesburg.

In April 2019, I successfully defended my dissertation, “Viral Visions: Art, Activism, and Epidemiology in the Global AIDS Pandemic.” In addition to transforming this study into a book, I am at work on a number of writing projects.

Dissertation Abstract

Most histories of HIV/AIDS, art, and cultural activism pivot around New York and are confined to the American context. Instead, this dissertation maps out a more expansive transnational Anglophone network of individuals, projects, and coalitions that conceived of the virus as a global problem during the 1980s and 1990s. Methodologically combining archival research with oral history interviews, this study proposes and models an epidemiological approach to art history that tracks and theorizes significant patterns of viral propagation, activist response, and visual culture-making across groups in Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the United States. Each chapter focuses on artists, activists, and critics—many of whom were queer, women, and people of color—as they formed communities in which the virus generated local, national, and global discourses and practices of cultural activism. Structured around four historical case-studies in and across Toronto, London, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Boston, this dissertation encompasses a diverse cultural archive cutting across media and aesthetic forms: visual artworks, films, exhibitions, texts, protests, workshops, campaigns, nightlife, and festivals. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that transnational AIDS cultural activism, with its viral aesthetic strategies, emergent modes of identification, and bold political interventions in public space, produced new critical understandings of postmodernism, queerness, globalization, and postcoloniality.

Publications
“Art Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and American Modernism.” American Art 32, no. 2 (Summer 2018): 80-99.

 “Beyond the Binary: The Gender Neutral in JJ Levine’s Queer Portraits.” In Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories. Edited by Amelia Jones and Erin Silver, 304-319. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015.

“Reading The Bostonians in Boston.” Thresholds 43 (2015): 66-75, 316-325.

Reviews
“Avram Finkelstein’s After Silence: A History of AIDS through Its Images.” Critical Inquiry (February 2018) 

“Doris Salcedo: The Materiality of Mourning.” Sequitur (December 2016).