Chase Ledin is a queer cultural historian and sexual health researcher. His academic interests include the social and cultural histories of HIV/AIDS in the UK and US, the sociology of health and medicine, and the politics of HIV and STI prevention since the 1990s. He is also interested in the HIV PrEP-inclusion movement occurring throughout the UK. His work contributes to ongoing projects to historicise and archive narratives about the pasts, presents and futures of HIV/AIDS.
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.
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 researcher at the University of Edinburgh. In his project, titled “Post-AIDS: Viral Futures and the Aftering of HIV/AIDS Histories,” he explores how HIV treatments are historicised within cultural and media representations of chronic HIV. Specifically, he analyses how “post-AIDS” projects (i.e. novels, plays, documentaries and manifestos) construct “less-viral” or “non-viral” futures. The project investigates how activists and artists negotiate HIV prevention using queer and sexual politics. Looking at materials from the mid-1990s to the present, this project asks: (1) In what ways are HIV 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? The project seeks to understand the relationship between biomedicine, queer activism and sexual politics. Ultimately, the project contributes to the larger disciplinary question: How do queer cultures devise, construct, implement and enact “post-viral” futures to negotiate the presence of HIV/AIDS?
For more about Chase’s current research activities, please see his curriculum vitae.