Chase Ledin is a queer cultural historian. His research concerns the social histories of HIV/AIDS in the UK and US, the sociology of chronic medicine, and politics of “post-AIDS” and treatment-as-prevention discourses from the 1990s to the present. Chase is also interested in the development of sexual politics within the PrEP-inclusion movement in the UK. His work contributes to ongoing projects to historicise and archive queer narratives about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and “post-AIDS” communities, politics, and experiences.
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 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.
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, 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 gayness. 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 linear fashions. In short, “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.
Currently, Chase is a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh. In his project, titled “Post-AIDS: HIV, Anticipation and the Futures of Negotiated Safety,” he examines the cultural logic of negotiated safety during the treatment-as-prevention era (1996-present). This project explores the ethics and politics of treatment-as-prevention in popular queer media, literature and culture. Specifically, it analyses how “post-AIDS” projects (i.e. novels, plays, documentaries and manifestos) construct “less-viral” or “non-viral” futures and how they negotiate HIV prevention using queer and sexual politics. Looking at materials from the mid-1990s to the present, this project asks two primary questions: (1) In what ways are antiretroviral technologies employed in “post-AIDS” narratives to negotiate queer sexual politics that imagine alternative configurations of living in the present? and (2) How can the use and representation of “post-AIDS” in queer narratives empower alternative configurations of sexual possibility and politics? Ultimately, this project seeks to understand the relationship between biomedicine, queer activism and sexual politics. It seeks to contribute, largely, to the queer historical question: How do queer cultures devise, construct, implement and enact “post-viral” futures using “post-AIDS” frameworks?
For more about Chase’s current research activities, please see his curriculum vitae.