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Haunting the Queer Spaces of Aids: Remembering ACT UP/New York and an Ethics for an Endemic


This essay considers the mutation of the temporality of HIV/AIDS in the United States from epidemic time to endemic time — the biopolitical distribution of life and death capacities across populations — as a critical noncoincidence of the present with itself. That the present moment is "out of joint" for the two generations separated by the interval between epidemic and endemic time is the motivation for asking a series of ethical, historical, and political questions about HIV/AIDS and queer theory through the lens of Jacques Derrida's Specters of Marx and the New York City — based digital archive of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) Oral History Project. Hauntology, a nonlinear process concomitant with archiving, is the ground from which, in the case of ACT UP/New York, the reactive endurance of life under neoliberalism in the archived memory of AIDS activism is made available for an active invention of a new ethico-political project across the generations otherwise divided by the aporia between epidemic and endemic.