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The Culture of AIDS in AfricaHope and Healing Through Music and the Arts$
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Gregory Barz and Judah Cohen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.001.0001

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Representing HIV/AIDS in Africa

Representing HIV/AIDS in Africa

Pluralist Photography and Local Empowerment

Chapter:
(p.404) 32 Representing HIV/AIDS in Africa
Source:
The Culture of AIDS in Africa
Author(s):

Roland Bleiker

Amy Kay

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.003.0032

This chapter explores the nature and political consequences of using photographs to represent HIV/AIDS in Africa. It first considers Western media constructions of stereotypes before turning to three photographic methods of representing HIV/AIDS—naturalist, humanist, and pluralist—and the ways they embody different ideologies through which we give meaning to political phenomena. It then examines an iconographic photograph portraying HIV/AIDS in Uganda during the mid-1980s and a series of photographs taken more recently by Ethiopian children affected by AIDS. It explains how attempts to present “natural” images of HIV/AIDS cultures end up cohering more to colonialist, exotic imaginings of Africa. The chapter suggests that photographic representations either contribute to or break with stereotypical portrayals of HIV/AIDS and highlights the potential of pluralist photography as an active catalyst for local empowerment and as a medium for challenging some of the deeply entrenched and extremely problematic taboos and stigmas that are associated with HIV/AIDS.

Keywords:   photographs, HIV/AIDS, Africa, stereotypes, Uganda, Ethiopia, pluralist photography, local empowerment

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