Chase Ledin is a cultural historian, sociologist, queer theorist and sexual health researcher. His academic interests include the cultural histories of HIV/AIDS in the U.K. and U.S., the sociology of health and illness, and the politics of HIV/STI prevention since the 1990s. Outside of 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.
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.
Chase then 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 HIV+ life. 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 a linear fashion. Thus “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 (2018-2021). His project, titled “Post-AIDS: Viral Futures in the Aftermath of HIV/AIDS Histories,” explores how biomedical treatments (ARVs, PEP, PrEP, etc.) are documented in cultural representations of chronic HIV. He analyses how “post-AIDS” projects (i.e. novels, plays, documentaries, web series, and manifestos) construct “less-viral” or “non-viral” futures using biomedical technologies. 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 sexual politics that imagine alternative configurations of living with/out HIV? and (2) How can the use and representation of “post-AIDS” in cultural media empower alternative configurations of sexual possibility and politics? The project seeks to understand the relationship between biomedicine, queer activism and sexual politics. Ultimately, it 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?
Through his work researching and teaching the sociology of health and illness, Chase explores the history of western medicine, health narratology, and medical humanities. He is also working on papers 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.