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[Faculty Seminar] Larry Kramer’s Holocaust: AIDS, Hannah Arendt, and the Moral Imperative of Political Action

Open only to faculty and graduate students

Dr. Gregg Drinkwater, Norman and Syril Reitman Visiting Professor, The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, Rutgers University

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Writer and AIDS activist Larry Kramer, who died last May, was long one of the most divisive voices in the LGBTQ community. Analogies between AIDS and the Holocaust were a recurrent theme in his fiery public speeches and equally incendiary prose, but were often viewed as a strategic and attention-seeking political tool. In this seminar, we will explore how Kramer turned to the history and memory of the Holocaust, and in particular, to the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt, to help him theorize the AIDS epidemic as a call to action. Kramer’s linking of AIDS and the Holocaust derived from his perception of similarities between Nazi antisemitism and homophobia.

Respondent: Gillian Frank, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of American Studies, University of Virginia

This event will be held virtually through Zoom. For more information or to register, visit