Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

First Advisor

Susan Talburt

Second Advisor

Tiffany King

Third Advisor

Megan Sinnott

Abstract

During the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, the U.S.’ hegemonic heteronormative society saw AIDS as an epidemic threat to the future rather than as a threat to the present, which helped mark queer bodies affected by the virus as being erasable and replaceable. In response to this rise in fear and rage as the only potential affective productions of AIDS-related deaths, much of the queer art produced during this time sought to capture the permanence as well as ephemerality of queer desire and mourning. This project seeks to locate these alternative instantiations of temporality within queer art’s vivification of death during this time period in order to disrupt the narrative of chrononormativity—as passage of time being only linear and one-directional—that is employed by neoliberal biopolitics to police and exclude subaltern bodies. To do so, this thesis applies a critical visual analysis to two photography pieces and two process art pieces that depict forms of loss or death by way of a reparative reading that is affectively driven and motivated by desire, pleasure, and curiosity.

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