The Working Group presents The Changing Face of HIV: Toward an Intersectional Understanding of Race and HIV in the South at Vanderbilt's
"The Politics of Health in the U.S. South" Conference
March 17-18, 2016
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Jennifer Singh, Manu Platt, Anne Pollock, Emily Pingel, Ryan Gibson, Abigail Sewell, and Lewis Wheaton
Five members of the Georgia Tech-based Atlanta area Working Group on Race and Racism in Contemporary Biomedicine attended a conference called “The Politics of Health in the U.S. South” at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, on March 17-18, 2016. It was a two-day conference comprised of faculty, graduate students, activists, and policy makers from around the region and the country. Its conference presentation there was the first outward-facing research product of the Working Group, which draws together faculty and graduate students at Georgia Tech, Emory, and Spelman in ongoing interdisciplinary conversations, supported by the Georgia Tech Provost, through the Georgia Tech Fund for Innovation in Research and Education (GT-FIRE).
Georgia Tech faculty attendees included Manu Platt, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Anne Pollock, Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Communication; and Jennifer Singh, Assistant Professor in the School of History and Sociology. Two Emory University PhD Students in Sociology also attended: Emily Pingel and Ryan Gibson. The remaining three coauthors of the Working Group’s conference paper were Melissa Creary, PhD Student in Emory’s Institute for Liberal Arts; Abigail Sewell, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Emory; and Lewis Wheaton, Associate Professor of Applied Physiology at Georgia Tech.
Dr. Singh presented the Working Group’s paper, titled “The Changing Face of HIV: Toward an Intersectional Understanding of Race and HIV in the South,” which was on a panel exploring Intersectional Research in the South. “Intersectionality” is a concept used to describe research approaches that attend to how different categories such as race, social class, sexuality, and gender are interconnected rather than additive, and analyzes how those intersections shape lived experiences. The Working Group’s paper highlighted how intersecting identities in the context of structural inequality create challenges for adequately addressing the needs of those at highest risk of HIV.
A highlight of the conference was the keynote speaker, Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor at Wake Forest University and former MSNBC television host, whose presentation encompassed all the themes of the conference: politics, health, and the U.S. South. It was both sharply analytical and emotionally moving, making evocative connections between historical events and current crises. The conference also offered a venue to meet scholars conducting cutting-edge interdisciplinary research; relationships that will provide the basis to develop future collaborations and events at Georgia Tech.