Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Erin J. Rand


ACT UP, Affect, Black Lives Matter, Grief, Queer

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


By adopting affect as a method of study, this project elucidates the structured feelings of grief to show the affective potential that comes from experiencing a death or loss. I assert that structured feelings are an epistemological process that model and reproduce how certain affective states ought to be observed in Western culture. In the first chapter of this project, I use psychological readings to trace two kinds of grief, good grief and queer grief, to show how a grief that conforms to structured feelings should be observed as well as how certain expressions of grief can escape and threaten those structured feelings. Then turning to the social movements spawned by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and Black Lives Matter, I examine how the concept of queer grief and can be agentively mobilized to refuse the terms of a death or loss on the terms of systemic and institutionalized homophobic and racist polices and practices. In the conclusion of this project, I turn the critical lens onto myself to performatively explore the effects and affects of writing this thesis to show how and why scholars should be attendant to their own entanglements with their work.


Open Access



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