HIV in Visual Culture: Looking to interdisciplinary approaches and global histories

deadline for submissions: 
November 6, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Jackson Davidow and Neil Macdonald
contact email: 

HIV in Visual Culture: Looking to interdisciplinary approaches and global histories


Jackson Davidow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Neil Macdonald, The University of Manchester,


The past ten years have witnessed a renewed interest in histories of HIV/AIDS in the art world and academy, as seen in several films, exhibitions, books, and countless citations in contemporary art and activism. Existing studies of HIV in visual culture, however, overwhelmingly focus on queer art and cultural production that originated in New York City in the late 1980s. But from its emergence in the early 1980s, the health crisis was at once local and global. The pandemic gave rise to a robust transnational network of artists and activists who developed trenchant aesthetic strategies in order to push for AIDS research, treatment, and legislation, to fight social stigma, and to cope with pervasive loss.


This panel seeks to address and examine such histories in a different light. At a moment when art’s histories are increasingly articulated in comparative, transnational and global terms, we invite art historians and those working in other disciplines to expand on, critique, and nuance histories and theories of HIV/AIDS in the visual field. The virus affects boundaries, communities and identities on local, global, bodily and disciplinary levels. How do these interact?


Possible themes include, but are not limited to: queerness; race; feminism; diasporas; censorship; concurrent transnational social movements such as anti-apartheid activism; globalisation; curatorial practice; canonisation; historiography; institutions.


We are especially interested in interdisciplinary approaches that draw inspiration from fields such as performance studies, film studies, cultural studies, science and technology studies, anthropology, and the medical humanities.


To offer a paper


Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenor(s).


You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).


Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme.


You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks.


Deadline for submissions: 6 November 2017


The Annual Conference for Art History takes place between 5 – 7 April 2018 at The Courtauld Institute for Art and King’s College London.  Further details can be found here: