Chase Ledin is a queer cultural theorist. His research concerns the histories of HIV and AIDS in the UK and US, the sociology of chronic medicine, and cultural discourses of ‘post-AIDS’ and treatment-as-prevention. Chase has a particular interest in the PrEP movement in England and Scotland since 2016. His work contributes to ongoing projects to historicize and archive queer narratives from the first-wave HIV/AIDS epidemic and the “post-AIDS” communities that follow.
Chase received a Bachelor of Arts (2014) in Honors English and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University. In his final year, he served as the lead researcher for the gender-inclusive housing taskforce. He wrote a benchmark study on the use of heteronormative ideologies in the creation of gender non-conforming spaces in university housing policy.
Following his B.A., Chase completed a Master of Arts (2016) in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory at King’s College London. In his thesis, he analyzed the cultural consequences of journalist Andrew Sullivan’s end-of-AIDS ideology. Chase argued that Sullivan’s prescriptive resignification of the virus as a liveable condition altered death out of the virus’s sustained presence in gay male communities (of affluence). In these circles, the assimilation of effective antiretrovirals introduced a ‘chronic life’ that did not retain the history of AIDS’s ‘death-defined’ features. The change in Sullivan’s narrative structure altered the progressive tendencies of remembering the epidemic in linear fashion(s). Consequently, Sullivan’s ideology (among others within the Independent Gay Forum) laid the groundwork for a larger shift in (queer) community consciousness: namely, a re-negotiation of the forms of affect that emerged from caregiving and community activism during the first-wave AIDS epidemic and the movement to conceptualise HIV/AIDS as approaching an (“inevitable”) end.
Currently, Chase is a doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. In his doctoral project, titled “Queer Anticipation, HIV and the Cultures of Negotiated Safety,” he examines the cultural logic of negotiated safety during the treatment-as-prevention era. Seeking to re-conceptualize the “post-AIDS” cultures described in Gabriel Rotello’s Sexual Ecology (1997) and Eric Rofes’s Dry Bones Breathe (1998), this project explores the ties between treatment-prevention and futurity. Specifically, it analyses how anticipations of “less-viral” or “non-viral” futures operate and are negotiated in HIV prevention and especially in queer sexual cultures. This project reflects on current tensions between national healthcare in England and Scotland and the emergence of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP). Looking at cultural artefacts (e.g. plays, books, activist manifestos and interviews, news articles, and policy documents) from the late 1990s to the present, this project asks two primary questions: (1) How have queer communities responded to the “chronic conditions” of HIV/AIDS in the post-antiretroviral period? (2) How do these responses come to inform and affect the way we understand queer life and life with HIV in the present and future? Ultimately, this project looks at how queer cultures in the UK devise, construct, implement, and enact anticipatory activism, historiography, and performativity in order to envision a variety of pleasures, intimacies, histories, and futures in the “post-AIDS” period.