AIDS and the Sexuality of Law maps the relationship between sexuality and the law and science of AIDS as it evolved between 1985 and 1995. The book undertakes a close reading of case opinions from the federal appellate courts and argues that these scripts can be read productively through the interpretive lens of irony. Although these texts rely literally on the language of science to construct an appearance of managing HIV transmission risks, they depend figuratively on a sexual epistemology that relegates important fragments of information to the realm of the unknowable. Court cases examined in the book deal with adult businesses, the health care industry, and prisons.
This book will broaden our view of the relation between law, science, and sexuality. The author takes us away from the typical subjects of queer legal scholarship - particularly constitutional litigation on privacy, the military, and marriage - and into the world of the adult theater, the workplace, and the prison in order to illustrate complex conceptual linkages between act and identity, science and the law, politics and epistemology. A pleasure to read. - Martha Merrill Umphrey, Amherst College.
AIDS and the Sexuality of Law is an ambitious work in which the author assumes the risks of exploring the constitutive role of uncertainty in appellate-level AIDS cases. This is a convincing exploration of the rhetorical means by which the mechanisms of the closet are strengthened - through legal blindness to scientific evidence and by strategic avoidance of scientific uncertainties. Rollins has made an original contribution to the analysis of legal discourse.
- Rosemary J. Coombe, Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication, and Cultural Studies, York University
This is a groundbreaking book. By reading ironically the operations of the 'closets' in the jurisprudence of AIDS, Rollins shows us how cultural knowledge about sexuality operates to render silences, elisions, and the 'unknowable' into potent political forces.
- Paisley Currah, Associate Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York