Historians Read The Great Believers

Type: Panel Discussion

Tags: LGBTQ History and Queer Studies; Medical History


In this panel, several historians consider Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers, the critically acclaimed and multiple-award-winning novel about the AIDS epidemic in Chicago in the 1980s. This is a panel not only about the history of HIV/AIDS but also about the space between fiction and history, and the challenges of writing a fictional account of the AIDS crisis. Makkai will conclude the session with her reflections on writing the novel.

Session Participants

Chair: Kevin Mumford, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Panelist: George Aumoithe, Princeton University, Department of History

Panelist: Jennifer Brier, University of Illinois at Chicago

Panelist: John A. D'Emilio, Social movements, LGBTQ history, history of sexuality

Panelist: Regina G. Kunzel, Princeton University

Panelist: Rebecca Makkai