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The Oscar Wilde Bookshop: A Conversation on Forgotten LGBTQ History with Jim Downs, PhD.

Join us for a conversation with historian Jim Downs, Ph.D., author of Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation, on LGBTQ history centered around the Oscar Wilde Bookshop. Stand By Me explains how the outbreak of HIV in the early 1980s caused many historians, journalists, and others to portray the 1970s as a period of unfettered sex in order to explain the outbreak of HIV in the 1980s. Stand By Me corrects this misinterpretation by uncovering forgotten episodes from the decade, and includes a chapter on the bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors that existed in Greenwich Village until 2009, The Oscar Wilde Bookshop. The conversation will be moderated by COTV member Lina Landström. 

Jim Downs is a historian, author, and Associate Professor of History at Connecticut College. In 2016, Downs published Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America, which he co-edited with Jennifer Brier and Jennifer L Morgan, and in 2012, Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction, which tells the largely unknown story of how many former slaves died at the moment of freedom.

While a graduate student at Columbia, Jim Downs organized a number of conferences on the politics and history of social change. He has published two edited books based on the conference proceedings, Why We Write: The Politics and History of Writing for Social Change, and Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism.