Chase Ledin is a cultural theorist, sociologist, and sexual health researcher. His academic interests include the cultural histories of HIV/AIDS in the U.K. and U.S., the sociology of health and illness, and the politics of HIV/STI prevention since the 1990s. Outside of his research, he is interested in the development of queer sexual health education and policy in Scotland, and the movement to standardise HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use across the United Kingdom. His creative work contributes to ongoing projects to historicise and archive HIV/AIDS narratives.
Chase received a Bachelor of Arts (2014) in Honours English and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University. In his final year, he served as a lead researcher for the gender-inclusive housing task force. He wrote a benchmark study on the use of heteronormative ideologies in the creation of gender non-conforming spaces in university housing policy.
Chase then completed a Master of Arts (2016) in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory at King’s College London. In his thesis, titled “The ‘End of AIDS’: Toward a Theory of Death in the New Chronic Mode,” he analysed the ideological functions of “end-of-AIDS” discourses in 1990s and 2000s American media. Chase argued that focus on HIV as a liveable condition, emerging in the mid-1990s, altered death itself out of gay male discourses about experiences of HIV+ life. The assimilation of effective antiretrovirals introduced a “chronic life” that did not retain the history of AIDS’s ‘death-defined’ features. The change in this narrative structure altered memory tactics for historicising the pandemic in a linear fashion. Thus “post-AIDS” ideology laid the groundwork for a larger shift in gay self identification. This included a re-negotiation of the forms of affect that emerged from caregiving and community activism during the “first-wave” epidemic and the subsequent move to conceptualise HIV/AIDS as approaching an (“inevitable”) end.
Presently, Chase is a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh, UK. His project, titled “Post-AIDS: Biomedical Futures, Chronic Materialities & Other Viral Assemblages,” explores how biomedical treatments (ARVs, PEP, PrEP, etc.) are documented in sociological and cultural representations of chronic HIV. He analyses how “post-AIDS” projects – particularly in the U.S. and U.K. – historicise and periodise biomedical technologies to make sense of the changing and uneven distribution of AIDS histories. Looking at materials from the mid-1990s to the present, the project asks: How are post-AIDS frameworks employed to study the social and cultural conditions of communities living with/among chronic HIV? The project is also guided by two sub-questions, which pins this research to histories of sexual liberation, the sociology of health and illness, and social theory: (1) In what ways are HIV antiretroviral technologies employed in “post-AIDS” narratives to negotiate sexual politics that imagine alternative configurations of living with/out HIV? and (2) How can the use and representation of “post-AIDS” in cultural theory empower alternative configurations of sexual possibility and sociability? In answering these questions, the project provides a rich understanding of how “post-AIDS” methods intervene in and challenge assumptions about the “afterlife” and “aftermath” of AIDS crisis and continues to explore the larger disciplinary question: “What is AIDS crisis?”
Through his work researching and teaching the sociology of health and illness, Chase explores the history of western medicine, health narratology, and medical humanities. He is also working on papers related to polyamory, HIV and STI prevention, healthcare and clinical practice, and the ethics of sexual health education.
For more about Chase’s current research activities, please see his curriculum vitae.