Humanizing HIV Surveillance? Assoc Prof Martin French

Humanizing HIV Surveillance? Assoc Prof Martin French

Dr. Martin French, Sociology & Anthropology, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

This workshop presents preliminary portions of an in-progress book manuscript on HIV surveillance. Written primarily for an audience of advocates and activists engaged in the global movement to end HIV criminalization, this book begins with a simple question: what is HIV surveillance? In answering this question, it observes myriad different forms of HIV surveillance, which sometimes join together in surprising and problematic ways. These ‘assemblages’ of HIV surveillance trouble the neat boundaries that public health scholars and practitioners have tried to erect around HIV- and other forms of public health-surveillance. They “throw forth” (Race 2018: 8) a set of questions about the data concepts, laws and ethical principles governing HIV surveillance. In this workshop, we will discuss some of the ways that HIV surveillance joins together with HIV criminalization, and the subjective and embodied affects of these forces for those living and working with HIV. We will consider how HIV surveillance—by virtue of its dehumanized presentation of HIV epidemics—paradoxically sets the stage for punitive treatments of the people and populations most affected by HIV. And we will discuss how centering the lived and living experiences of those most affected might present an opportunity to humanize HIV surveillance.   

Reference: Race, Kane. 2018. Intimate Experiments with the Problem of HIV. London: Routledge.

Martin French is an Associate Professor with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, in Montréal, Canada. He is also a member of the Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization, and of the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure. His research examines the social dimensions of technology, focusing on communications & information technology (CIT). It emphasizes the broader social and political contexts of CIT, focusing especially on risk, surveillance, privacy, and social justice. He is completing a book-manuscript on the circuits of information linking HIV surveillance and criminal justice systems, and on the wider epistemological and political implications of these entanglements.      

Date & time

Fri 28 Feb 2020, 9.30am–12.30pm


Beryl Rawson Building, Conference Room #2, 13 Ellery Crescent ANU


Assoc Prof Martin French


Gavin Smith


Updated:  12 February 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications