03/31/2016 -AIDS Education Resources

(note: consistently updated version here)

Works Cited Page

AIDS Activism Pinterest Board

Books/Journals – if you do not have access through your local library, I suggest interlibrary loan if it is available.

(PDF) Douglas Crimp Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism (JSTOR link here)

Anything by Greg Bordowicz: Just a fantastic nonfiction writer in general. The AIDS Crisis is Ridiculous and Other Writings (buy here) is an incredibly well written book.

AIDS and Its Metaphors by Susan Sontag

Moving Politics:Emotion and ACT-UP’s Fight Against AIDS.  by Deborah Gould

How to Have Theory in an Epidemic by Paula Treichler

Mobilizing New York: AIDS, Antipoverty, and Feminist Activism Carroll

Demo Graphics. Douglas Crimp (really any you can’t go wrong with Douglas Crimp)

The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resistance.

Avital Ronell, “A Note on the Failure of Man’s Custodianship (AIDS Update)

See Works Cited for more.

Academic Reading: Fear of A Queer Planet. Edited by Michael Warner (download here or buy here) Specifically see the essays by Patton and by Freeman and Berlant.

Primary Source: Randy Shilts And the Band Played On. Primary resource with (obviously) outdated information (for example, the Patient Zero myth). But important historical artifact.   

Biography and Memoir:

David Wojnarowicz

Robert Mapplethorpe:The Archive (buy here) (Extra Reading: Patti Smith’s Just Kids).

We Must Love One Another or Die: The Life and Legacies of Larry Kramer

Sean Strub Body Counts:A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival (buy here)


United in Anger:A History of ACT-UP (if you are able, please buy here or rent here) If there is one documentary you watch on AIDS activism, this is the one.

We Were Here On Netflix. PBS clip here.

The Age of AIDS (part 1) (note: I haven’t seen this yet. Tell me if it is any good!)

Larry Kramer:In Love and Anger (at HBO) (YouTube)

30 Years from Here: A Personal History of NYC & HIV-AIDS

HIV and Me by Stephen Fry (part 2 here)

1993 PBS “Angels in America” Documentary (have not seen this yet)

The History of HIV and Current Epidemic by University of California (also: HIV: A Primer)

Vito: documentary on Vito Russo on Netflix. (bonus: adaptation of Russo’s book on queer portrayals in classic film, The Celluloid Closet)

Bonus: not AIDS related, but The Life and Times of Harvey Milk is on Hulu. It does a good job explaining the political climate in San Francisco following Milk’s murder and establishing the milieu from which the San Francisco AIDS crisis emerged.

Reluctantly recced: How to Survive a Plague. Well-done documentary that provides a great deal of historical background and information, but over-emphasizes the role of white men in ACT-UP (though interestingly enough, not Kramer). I.e., aggrandizes Peter Staley.  

History Archives

Visual AIDS

ACT-UP’s Official Website

ACT-UP Oral History Project

UCSF AIDS History Project

John Cohen AIDS Research Collection at the University of Michigan

Retrospective in Pictures:A Pictorial Timeline of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Historical Footage:Primary Sources

ACT-UP: Ashes to Ashes

1990 Talk Show w/ ACT-UP

Kissing Doesn’t Kill (PSA by Gran Fury)

Fire in My Belly by David Wojnarowicz

Public Information Film – AIDS 1986

Bordowicz’s Video Data Bank.


Reagan Administration’s Chilling Response to the AIDS epidemic (video)

The Guardian: The First Lady Who Looked Away

When AIDS was Funny

More on the Reagans laughing at AIDS from ACT-UP’s Michael Bronski

Accurate Tweet in response to Hilary Clinton on Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan’s HIV/AIDS Legacy


ACT-UP Oral History: Free Podcast by The New York Public Library

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (archive)

Radiolab: Patient Zero NOTE:the Patient Zero myth has been debunked. I have not listened to this episode yet so I do not know how Radiolab handles it.


Selections from Ann Cvetkovich’s An Archive of Feelings on lesbians in ACT-UP

Sarah Shulman interviews Larry Kramer at ACT-UP Oral History Project

Women of ACT-UP NY  

Larry Kramer at democracynow.org in 2007

Center for Disease Control:Three Decades of the Commitment to the Fight Against AIDS video


Angels in America by Tony Kushner

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer. Good film adaptation by HBO. Clip here.  

Sarah Shulman People in Trouble (buy here) Scribd here note: much of Rent was plagiarized from Shulman which is but one reason it is not on this list. Further reading: Shulman’s Stagestruck: Theater, AIDS, and the Marketing of Gay America (buy here)

Carol Rifka Brunt Tell the Wolves I’m Coming Home  

Vital Signs: Essential AIDS Fiction ed. Richard Canning

Larry Kramer

  • Faggot note: published in 1978. Pre-AIDS, but classic Kramer.

Michael Cunningham: The Hours (film adaptation: rent)

Photo credit: Gran Fury, anonymous.


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