Jennifer Brier, PhD

Prof. J. Brier

Core Faculty
Director of Gender and Women's Studies

Associate Professor,
Gender and Women's Studies & History

PhD, History
Rutgers University, 2002

Office: 1228 UH (MC 360) Phone: 312-413-2458
E-mail: jbrier [at] uic [dot] edu

*Curriculum Vitae


About Dr. Brier

With a joint appointment in the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies and the History Department, my research and teaching are largely focused on exploring the historical intersections of gender, race, and sexuality. My book, Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Response to the AIDS Crisis was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009. In it I argue that AIDS provides the perfect lens through which to see the complex social and political history of the 1980s and 1990s. I substantiate this argument by detailing how activists, service providers, philanthropists and the federal government responded to AIDS in the first two decades of the AIDS epidemic. I place the history of a successful yet complex and contentious social movement organized to deal with the AIDS epidemic in conversation with a more traditional political history of how the state dealt with this public health crisis. Finally, I link the local to the global by connecting the development of domestic AIDS policy and activism to global AIDS policy and activism.

My teaching interests revolve around the connections between gender, race, sexuality and science as well. I regularly teach “Sexuality and Community” (GWS 203) and “Sexuality and Culture” (GWS 403), courses that serve as a core for students interested in learning about sexuality and queer studies. I also teach a course that investigates the global AIDS pandemic, "AIDS, Politics and Culture" (GWS 462). This course can be used by students interested in thinking about health and human rights as well as sexuality and politics. At the graduate level, I have taught Feminist Knowledge Production (GWS 502), one of the two courses required for the Graduate Concentration in GWS.

In addition to my teaching and research at UIC, I am the co-curator of an exhibition on LGBT history in Chicago set to open at the Chicago History Museum in 2011. As I am working on this exhibition, I also serve on the planning committee for Out at CHM, the gay and lesbian public lecture program run by the Chicago History Museum and the Center on Halsted. For more information on LGBT history programming see

*Selected Publications


"Locating Lesbian and Feminist Responses to AIDS 1982-1984"
Anti-AIDS Activism and The Legacy of Community Control in Queens, NY


Infectious Ideas: AIDS and U.S. Politics, 1980-2006