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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Jim Hicks

Second Advisor

Don Levine

Third Advisor

Regina Galasso

Fourth Advisor

Martin Norden

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | Immune System Diseases | Literature in English, North America | Other Film and Media Studies | Spanish Literature | Virus Diseases


Analyzing works by Juan Goytisolo, Rabih Alameddine, and Derek Jarman, this dissertation studies the similarities of war and AIDS as sensorial experiences socially located and complexly embodied. This study looks at the ways bodies engage with, are affected by, and respond to both war and AIDS, specifically within the AIDS/War Narrative; that is, narrative spaces that foreground both experiences simultaneously. Influenced by Mark Paterson’s notion of felt phenomenology and positioned at the nexus of Comparative Literature, Disability Studies, and Husserlian phenomenology, this dissertation studies texts that exhibit an awareness of the phenomenal characteristics governing the experiences of AIDS and war, each text proposing that both conditions are characterized by an assault on the body and the psyche through the senses, what we will refer to throughout as the state or sense of siege. The state or sense of siege speaks not only of the activation of the senses in these situations of duress – i.e. to sense one’s location and embodiment within an experience – but also of a need to make sense of the situations and the conditions that facilitate their occurrence, as well as a need to make sense of our position as sentient beings in relation to other sentient beings. The texts explored acknowledge language’s descriptive and denotational capacities while they also recognize the malleability of the relationship between signifiers and signifieds, particularly as it pertains to the senses. Recognizing that each individual apprehends and feels differently, these texts are mainly concerned with acts of feeling and their relaying as information that further connects each subject to a wider intersubjective experience.