Beth Clement Wins Teaching Award and Featured in U of U Innovate Report
Associate Professor Elizabeth Clement has not only won the 2016 Faculty Teaching Award for Excellence in General Education, but over the last two years, Clement has been active in the creation and processing of the new Kristen Ries/Maggie Snyder HIV/AIDS Collection at the Marriott Library. In her capacity as “the historian,” she has assessed archival materials and conducted oral histories with people involved in the epidemic in Utah. Part of her commitment to this project involves writing a book tracing this history. Organized around sites of care: the hospital, church, home, and community, each chapter will address the impact of the AIDS epidemic on the spaces—physical, emotional and cultural—where people in Utah confronted and grappled with AIDS.
Broadly, she argues that AIDS transformed the politics of homosexuality in America, leading to a greater acceptance of queer people in national life. Early on the epidemic became associated with the stigma of homosexuality. As some people with AIDS came home to die, the knowledge that homosexuality was not limited to big cities, but in fact happened everywhere, began to shift attitudes towards homosexuality in the American heartland. However, big cities and liberal places still dominate the historiographical literature on AIDS. That Utah recently brokered a truce in the culture wars in the form of an anti-discrimination ordinance that protects both queer people and religious people from discrimination, indicates that scholars must study places like Utah if they want to understand the radical shift in attitudes towards homosexuality that have occurred in recent years.