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Tuesday, April 24 • 11:35am - 11:55am
Weaving The Narrative: Material Culture Analysis Of The Elegiac Patchwork Of Selections From The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt

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Discourse involving the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic have centered on the social and political climate at the onset of the outbreak in the early 1980’s. At that time, AIDS was categorized as a gay disease and initially labeled terms such as “gay cancer” and “the gay plague.” As gay men began to die exponentially from this disease they were further marginalized by the lack of governmental involvement and societal stigma. Thus, personal and intimate stories of those who lost their battle to AIDS and individuals who were close to them were pushed to the periphery of society. The purpose of this study is to illustrate how the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt acts as more than a tool for awareness and site of grieving; it humanizes the lived experience of each individual memorialized within its panels by preserving their stories. Through content analysis of a selection of quilt panels, cathartic and symbolic themes are explored. These threaded themes, such as the importance of naming the deceased and the significance of the clothing, photographs, handwritten letters, and other paraphernalia mosaically exhibited on the panels, provide a plurality of voices to these otherwise hidden and silenced narratives. The results of this research add these narratives into dominant historical discourse surrounding the AIDS epidemic.

Tuesday April 24, 2018 11:35am - 11:55am PDT
236 Zageir Hall