AIDS in Cultural Bodies: Scripting the Absent Subject (1980-2010)
This book examines the various psychosocial and sexual ordeals of African American people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWH/PLWAs) as depicted in African American literary narratives dealing with HIV/AIDS published from 1980 to 2010. Central to these texts are the psychosocial and sexual challenges faced by the African American PLWH/PLWAs and the various adaptive strategies they choose to come to terms with their HIV/AIDS identity.
Although PLWH/PLWAs irrespective of race confront these brutal realities, the intersection of a mythologized black sexuality, homophobia and intra-community marginalization places African American PLWH/PLWAs in an unenviable position. While abjection and social death rupture the social self of PLWH/PLWAs, the ostracization they suffer as a result of their diagnosis affects their sexual self, leading to sexual death. In addition to illustrating the social and sexual issues of PLWH/PLWAs in relation to race, sexuality and gender, the African American HIV/AIDS literary narratives studied here also foreground various coping strategies conscripted by PLWH/PLWAs to surmount the onerous psychosocial and sexual challenges they face.
In view of the above concerns, this study analyses social death, sexual death and coping in relation to HIV/AIDS at three levels, namely the intersection of blackness, sexuality and HIV/AIDS; the impact of such an intersection on the sexual life of black PLWH/PLWAs; and, finally, the envisioned coping strategies for affirmative survival. This book offers insightful critical analysis of HIV/AIDS literary narratives by celebrated authors such as Samuel R. Delany, Cheryl L. West, Essex Hemphill, Michael B. Hunter, Steven Corbin, Charlotte Watson Sherman, Sapphire, Pearl Cleage, Sheneshka Jackson, Gil R. Robertson, and Marvelyn Brown.
Dr Sathyaraj Venkatesan is an Assistant Professor of English in the Department of Humanities at the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli. He received his PhD in African American Literature from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. He has previously spent time as a Fellow at the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, New York. His research concentrates on graphic medicine, literature and medicine, and Toni Morrison, and his articles and book reviews have appeared in a number of renowned publications, including The Explicator, International Fiction Review, MELUS, Notes on Contemporary Literature, the Journal of Language, Literature and Culture, and the Encyclopedia of African American Women, among others.
Dr Gokulnath Ammanathil received his PhD from the Department of Humanities at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy. He is an independent researcher and his research concentrates on African American literature, literature and medicine, and AIDS literary narratives.
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