CSC: "Dead Addicts Don't Recover": ACT UP's Needle Exchange and the Subjects of Queer Social Movement's History

Christina Hanhardt, University of Maryland at College Park

Thursday, March 26, 2015 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Johnson Center, Room F

Join us to hear the last CSC speaker of the semster on March 26.  The speaker is Christina B. Hanhardt, who is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park, and the author of Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence, winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Best Book in LGBT Studies.

Below is a summary of her talk: 

In the 1990s, the AIDS activist organization ACT UP used civil disobedience to organize needle exchanges that provided clean needles to injection drug-users.  An early example of “harm reduction,” this was also part of ACT UP’s effort to define their activism as on behalf of those whom they described as a “throwaway class” of gay people, drug users, people who exchange sex for money, and homeless people. Hanhardtexplores how this movement incorporated individuals often excluded by mainstream LGBT and leftist activism, reflecting on what might count as a queer left social movement history as well as on the vexed status of recovery within both harm reduction ideals and social movement historiography.