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Across the late 1980s and 1990s, incarcerated activists organized AIDS peer education and advocacy in dozens of prisons and jails across the United States. Black, Latinx, and white, these activists challenged the carceral state at multiple sites and scales, including by caring for one another and mourning the losses that HIV/AIDS wrought in their communities. Drawing on archival material and oral history interviews, this talk presents AIDS prison activism as a form of care work inside and against the carceral state, using as a central focus the creation and display, inside prisons, of panels for the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Incarcerated activists used quilt-making to advance HIV education, to forge bonds across prison walls, and to mourn imprisonment itself. Inseparable from other forms of collectivity and protest, AIDS prison quilts illuminated the power of radical care work to evade carceral control. 

Emily Hobson is the chair of Gender, Race and Identity at University of Nevada, Reno. She studies how the HIV/AIDS and prison movements worked together. Check her bio for more detail.

This event is presented by the University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Persons with disabilities who need assistance may contact Cliff Chan in advance at (773) 834-5298 or