Chase Ledin is a historian and sociologist who recently completed a PhD in Social and Cultural Theory at the University of Edinburgh. His thesis explored the sociocultural dimensions of “post-AIDS” health promotion in the US and UK. His work brings together the history of medicine, queer STS, and critical public health – drawing on archival research, interviews, and cultural criticism – to understand transformations in HIV and STI intervention strategies since the 1990s.
In particular, Chase is interested in how biomedical treatments (e.g. HIV treatments including ARVs, PEP, PrEP, and contested forms of STI prophylaxis aka “doxy PEP/PrEP”) are documented in social theory and cultural representations of chronic HIV. His work analyses the boundaries of biomedical technologies, cultural histories and public health promotion in order to make sense of the changing and uneven distributions of HIV/AIDS histories. Looking at materials from the late 1990s to the present, his research asks: What futures are imagined and produced through strategies to reduce HIV transmission? Drawing on sociological theory, his work seeks to understand how post-AIDS frameworks been employed within sociological research to study the social and cultural conditions of communities living with/among chronic HIV. Integrated with a critical queer STS approach, Chase questions how post-AIDS social theories have empowered alternative conceptions of sexual possibility and sociability. This research contributes to ongoing conversations about intervention efficacy, biotechnological determinism, and national and global campaigns to “end HIV”. It speaks across a number of disciplines, including sociology, public health, science and technology studies, and queer cultural studies, to understand how the “futures” of HIV are framed in processes of biomedical, technological, social, and cultural development. The implications of this research reach across health policy and promotion practices, cultural production, and histories of science, medicine and technology.
Chase received a Bachelor of Arts in Honours English and Sociology of Sexuality from The Ohio State University in 2014. 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-inclusive living spaces in university housing policy.
In 2016, he completed a Master of Arts 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 employed critical theory and discourse analysis to examine the discursive functions of “end-of-AIDS” discourses in 1990s and 2000s American popular science media. Chase argued that focus on HIV as a liveable condition, emerging in the late 1990s, altered the ontological category of “death itself” out of gay male discourses about experiences of life with HIV which induced a perception of “chronic life” which did not retain the history of AIDS’s “death-defined” features. This epistemological change contributed to medicoscientific discourses within queer cultures that re-construct HIV status as an institutional and scientifically-managed condition above earlier notions of activist-led interventions. Chase argued that early post-AIDS discourses laid the groundwork for a shift in cultural identification with biomedical apparatuses as a means to “liberate” the “end of AIDS” and create cultures that more readily associate with biomedical experimentation.
Outwith 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. He is also working on writing 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.