Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

English

Major Professor

Allen Dunn

Committee Members

Misty Anderson, Amy J. Elias

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of sex and death in contemporary gay male culture, particularly focusing on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and “safe sex” practices, specifically bug-chasing. By analyzing relevant literature and public discourse the topic of bug-chasing, or intentional pursuit of HIV sero-conversion, is placed in appropriate context. The work of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Leo Bersani is employed in order to frame bug-chasing as a means of radical sexual self-determination which attempts to transcend the bonds of the administered bourgeois self, and ultimately results in an act of will akin to Martin Heidegger’s being-towards-death.

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