A couple of nights ago I went to a talk at Columbia by Ann Cvetkovich on "Oral History, AIDS Activism and Archives of Feelings", hosted by the Oral History Master of Arts program. The talk ended up being primarily about Cvetkovich's current project which is interviewing women who were involved in ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). It was timely for me as for the past two months I have been working on archival material of an AIDS activist organization including processing video footage, some of which includes ACT UP members and actions.
AIDS activism is singular to study because it's the only time in history people mobilized, through activism, to fight a health crisis, along with all the politics, prejudice and bureaucracy that came with it. ACT UP in particular did direct action from political funerals, or infiltrating the nightly news and the Stock Exchange. Cvetkovich focused her talk on the ACT UP Oral History Project which I have found to be a fascinating resource. Gregg Bordowitz's interview gives a good idea of the fear and anger many were feeling at the start of this crisis.
* On a side note I am really interested in the Oral History program. Talking to students afterwards, I found of that this is the first year it's been in existence and that's why I had never heard of it. But the classes sound interesting and most of the students seemed to be pleased with the program so far. And I already have my thesis topic! So I guess just now I just have to finish this OTHER degree first...
Posted by Susan at 3:36 PM