Practices of Freedom

Selected Writings on HIV/AIDS

Book Pages: 312 Illustrations: Published: October 1994

Author: Simon Watney

Activism, Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies

Since the mid-1980s, Simon Watney has been one of the leading voices in the international field of HIV/AIDS education. His monthly column on AIDS in Britain’s Gay Times is the longest-running column of its kind in Europe, and he is actively involved in HIV/AIDS issues in the United States. His work constitutes a unique dialogue between European and American perspectives on the epidemic. Practices of Freedom brings together for the first time Watney’s pioneering writings on topics ranging from gay men’s Safer Sex education to racist coverage of AIDS in Africa in the international media, from the ethics of clinical drug trials to governmental policies concerning AIDS.
Watney’s voice—neither neutral nor detached—is that of an active and influential participant in the fight against AIDS. He offers a unique view of the ways in which gay men working in community-based organizations have attempted to provide reliable and up-to-date services and information regarding AIDS treatment and health. A leader in insisting on gay men’s entitlements to education, care, and services, Watney was among the first to challenge the "de-gaying" of AIDS service organizations in the late eighties. He also devotes his attention to HIV/AIDS prevention work, research and treatment issues, and the wider cultural politics of the disease, including the role of language, television, and cinema. His analysis of the epidemic as it has unfolded provides a history of many of the major medical and political debates that have defined the course and extent of the crisis.
Practices of Freedom demonstrates the failure of national institutions, from the government to the press, to understand and effectively fight this epidemic, and directs attention to the most urgent needs in American and international AIDS work. It will be an important primary resource, particularly in the United States, where effective community-based HIV/AIDS education tragically has often been neglected.


“The release of Watney’s latest book . . . is cause for careful assessment of the current discourse on HIV/AIDS. All of the essays are written from the author’s perspective as a committed AIDS activist, and thus have the ring of impassioned indignation that only someone deeply immersed within the politics surrounding the epidemic could muster.” — David McCarthy, New Art Examiner

"In reading Simon Watney’s essays we witness the pain, anger, and brilliance of one of the most longstanding AIDS activists and critics. How fortunate we are to finally have this work collected in a single volume." — Cindy Patton, author of Inventing AIDS

"Simon Watney provides a thought provoking analysis of the profound cultural crises generated by the AIDS epidemic." — Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, Community Research Initiative on AIDS


Availability: In stock
Price: $27.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Simon Watney is Director of the Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust in the U. K., a funding initiative for community-based HIV prevention work. He is the author of several books, including Policing Desire: Pornography, AIDS, and the Media, and coeditor of Taking Liberties: AIDS and Cultural Politics. He has published more than 250 articles on HIV/AIDS, and his work has appeared in October, the Village Voice, High Performance, Screen, and Artforum, among other publications.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Preface: My project xi


1. AIDS, 'Moral Panic' Theory, and Homophobia 3


2. Visual AIDS: Advertising Ignorance 17

3. The Subject of AIDS 22

4. The Politics of AIDS 31


5. Talking to the Future: Gay rights in Britain and the USA 39

6. The Spectacle of AIDS 46

7. Photography and AIDS 60

8. 'AIDS' or 'HIV Disease'? 76

9. 'The Day After Hiroshima': Reflections on official British and Swedish AIDS education materials and government policies 79

10. Cross-Over: A film by Steffan Hildebrand 90

11. Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic: And The Band Played On 98


12. Missionary Positions: AIDS, 'Africa,' and race 103

13. Young People and AIDS 121

14. Community Responsibilities 124

15. Safer Sex as Community Practice 127


16. Re-gaying AIDS 145

17. Practices of Freedom: 'Citizenship' and the politics of identity in the age of AIDS 148

18. AIDS, The Second Decade: 'Risk,' research and moernity 160

19. Silence Equals Death 178


20. State of Emergency 187

21. Perspectives on Testing 191

22. Perspectives on Treatment 194

23. Short-Term Companions: AIDS and 'popular' entertainment 197

24. AIDS and Social Science: Taking the scenic route through an emergency 221


25. Muddling Through: The UK responses to AIDS 231

26. Duesberg's Dangerous Dogma 244

27. Bad, Mad and Dangerous 247

28. Political Funerals 250

29. Gay Teenagers and Gay Politics 253

30. Powers of Observation: AIDS and the writing of history 256

Notes 267

Index 283
Sales/Territorial Rights: North America

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1564-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1553-7
Publicity material