Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Charles E. Morris III
AIDS, performance, queer archives, southern culture, temporality
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This project is a rumination on the rhetorical stylistics of queer men who performed southern culture in New York City during the first and second waves of the American HIV/AIDS crisis (1982-1992). I examine “the transplant archive,” a self-compiled assemblage of archival fragments representing the lives of three unrelated American southern transplants who lived in NYC and were in some way affected by the emergence of HIV/AIDS. Methodologically, I bend the boundary between archival and critical ethnographic research by placing myself – my own sensory experience and positionality – within the archive. I argue that collectively these texts create cultural memories of AIDS via a stylization of southernness, which illuminates the performative potential of “doing” southern culture as a way of discombobulating the predominant logics of futurity and resisting the effects of a heteronormative linear temporal order brought about by the larger United States public sphere. I infer that each of the figures I analyze illustrates a southern style that productively functions as a backward temporal regression, simultaneously a backwardness in time and a backwardness that culturally functions as a signifier of southernness. More specifically, I insist that through their southern performances, each featured transplant rhetorically constructs their own temporality against the ominous risk of HIV/AIDS.
Hatfield, Joe Edward, "Southerners and the City: Queer Archives, Backward Temporalities, and the Emergence of AIDS" (2016). Dissertations - ALL. 474.