Chase Ledin is a queer cultural historian and 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 is especially interested in the PrEP movement in England and Scotland. His work contributes to ongoing projects to historicize and archiving queer narratives during and after the first-wave HIV/AIDS epidemic.
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 and elsewhere) 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, working within Edinburgh College of Art and the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society. In his doctoral project, titled “Post-AIDS: Queer Ecology, HIV, and the Chronic After-Life,” he examines the cultural logic of negotiated risk during the treatment-as-prevention era. Seeking to re-conceptualize the queer ecological and projective cultures of Gabriel Rotello’s Sexual Ecology (1997) and Eric Rofes’s Dry Bones Breathe (1998), this project explores the ties between ecology and futurity in queer HIV/AIDS activism. Specifically, it seeks to construct a framework for integrating ecological approaches to chronic illness (like HIV/AIDS) into models of radical/queer alterities and political futurisms. Present gay liberation and utopian strategies lack a coherent understanding of the political, social, and cultural consequences of chronic illness; such politics require chronic integration in order to envision and affect alternatives to neoliberal society. This project reflects on current tensions between NHS England and the standardization of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP). It examines organizations like ACT UP London, IWantPrEPNow and PrEPster; and the performative (re)-imagining of HIV subjects in the works of Patrick Cash, Matthew Lopez, and the London-based HIV Voices, to discuss and consider how queer ecologies operate within post-AIDS communities in the PrEP era.