CFP: ‘Representations of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa’, deadline Apr. 24

Representations of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa: literature, art and film

The panel aims to stimulate discussion about the history and politics of representing HIV/AIDS in literature, film and the visual arts in Southern Africa.  Representations of the virus entail semiotic, aesthetic, cultural and political complexities. They can help to increase the cultural visibility of the virus and to challenge dominant ideas about the epidemic. They may be related to the ways in which literature can pay attention to silences, ambiguities and ‘difference’ (especially regarding bodies which have been culturally marginalized), and the ways in which HIV/AIDS may be linked to changing representations of gender.

Our key aim is to ask whether literary and artistic/visual narratives can alter the way HIV/AIDS is perceived, and, if so, what has been the impact of these representations? The panel also invites (but does not wish to limit itself to) papers related to the following questions:

How have literature, art, film and photography differed in their representation of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa? What can be gained from comparing the different trajectories of expression in different art forms? Why have regional governments addressed the epidemic and the stigma, taboo and silences with which HIV/AIDS is surrounded in such different ways, and how have these different political responses shaped literary and artistic production?

We particularly welcome inter-disciplinary and comparative papers. For more information, please contact the co-convenors and see the link to the ASAUK website below which includes guidance on submitting an abstract for a paper to this panel.

Co-convenors: Lizzy Attree (, Ellen Grünkemeier (University of Hannover, and Tim Woods (University of Aberyswyth (



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