This article explores how the relationship between gay men with AIDS and their parents was imagined and represented in both gay and more mainstream literary and visual sources. While some observers of AIDS in late twentieth-century America have suggested that gay men looked to peer caring networks as an alternative kinship strategy, I argue here that the disease also overlapped the social lives, experiences, and cultures of gay men and their heterosexual parents. Portraits of this relationship suggest a mutual generational longing for the family and the basic acts of care and nurturance that it seemed to embody.
Drawing on personal testimonials and questions addressed to psychiatric hospital officials, this article explores how patients and their loved ones engaged with the idea of diagnosis in interwar and war-era America. I argue that diagnosis had synergies with intellectual sensibilities of American modernity, among them an enthusiasm for science and newness, a modernist sense of time that could be both forward-and backward-looking, and a knowable, interpreted self. While self-understanding and the creation of life narratives were more often considered the bailiwick of psychoanalysis in this period, understanding subjectivity and self-interpretation were not solely expressed in its conceptual vocabulary. Patient and family dialogs with diagnosis and psychiatric authorities allow for an illumination of the interaction between domestic intuitions, common sense, and folk wisdom, on the one hand, and institutional taxonomy, categorization, and scientific terminology on the other, or more broadly, between dispositions that are ostensibly antimodern and more modern ideas. I suggest that the protean and wide-ranging intellectual origins of the discipline of psychiatry, along with the inherent ambiguity of psychiatric diagnosis during the early 20th century, allowed patients to participate in their own medicalization in the most capacious way possible: by combining biology with diagnostic narrative capacities, as well as broader perceptions of morality and character. In the concluding reflection, I speculate about why it is that late 20th-century
This article focuses on gay professor-student relationships in the United States, during and post gay liberation. Exploring personal writings, student periodicals, and academic documents between the late 1960s and the 1990s, I argue that interactions between gay professors and their students illuminate an ambiguous affectionate relationship wherein the closeness was based just as much on different generational sensibilities as the individuals themselves. Further, I show that these relationships suggest a therapeutic potential to education through the articulation of personal knowledge in the classroom, one that was increasingly open to challenge in the 1980s and 1990s.
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