Abjection. Objection. Subjection. Rethinking the history of AIDS in gay men’s futures

Presented by Professor Gary W. Dowsett,

Deputy Director, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

12:00 Wednesday 23rd September 2015

Paul Barratt Lecture Theatre, Psychology Building S06, UN


In coining the term 'post-AIDS' 20 years ago, I was noting then the dissolution of a singular and unified experience of HIV and AIDS for gay communities that had been the case until that time. Not only were HIV+ and HIV- gay men having increasingly different experiences, but divergent trajectories were opening up. Since then, many other factors have been coming into play, e.g. age and generation, the ascendancy of the biomedical and the technosexual, and the supremacy of neoliberal politics (including sexual politics). Now, if gay men are to survive as such -- and there is a question about this too -- are there larger issues than HIV and AIDS that ought to command our attention? Or do we need to rethink how we situate HIV and AIDS within the larger framework of gay men's health lives. This might be just a question of politics, or it could be a question of theory. Are we finally returning to the original gay liberation agenda of the eradication of difference, or simply being traduced (seduced?) by our success at intimate citizenship? This paper is the start of an exploration of these issues.


Professor Gary Dowsett, PhD, is Deputy Director at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. A sociologist, he has long been interested in sexuality research, particularly in relation to the rise of modern gay communities. Since 1986, he has been researching the HIV epidemic, particularly in Australia's gay communities, and since the 1990s has also focused on HIV and AIDS internationally with research and community-based organisations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Fiji, the US and UK, and other regional associations that focus on men who have sex with men. He has worked as a consultant and advisor to WHO, UNDP and UNAIDS. He is author, co-author or co-editor of six books, more than 80 book chapters and academic papers, and over 90 other publications. His first book (co-authored with Raewyn Connell and two other colleagues) was voted one of the top ten most influential books in Australian Sociology by The Australian Sociological Association in 2003.

launch seminar recording