Brendan McHugh

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Contact Me

American Studies .
104 Scott Hall

72 Pleasant St SE

  • American Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Medical School: Program in the History of Medicine

My work has focused on the history of the early decades of the AIDS crisis in the United States, particularly in the San Francisco-Bay Area. This project began almost ten years ago as an undergraduate honor thesis at San Francisco State University's Women and Gender studies department. Focusing on a wide array of AIDS service organizations and other activist groups my dissertation focuses on needle exchange groups, the emotional peer support organization Shanti Project, and self-empowerment groups for women living with HIV/AIDS. These projects rely not only on archival materials, both institutional and people's personal papers, but also on oral histories and interviews. I have conducted numerous oral histories and interviews since starting graduate school and will continue to do so until the completion of the project. I believe that centering histories of larger events should be rooted in people's narratives and lived experiences. This project, like my interests, seeks to explore concepts of self and the body, in this case AIDS/HIV, at the intersections of disability history, history of medicine, and gender and sexuality studies. I am currently working on an article focusing on the politics of women activists living with AIDS/HIV and have presented on this topic at conferences, as well as the work of AIDS volunteers in professional hospitals, as well as t the development of needle exchange programs in the U.S., and the experiences of the Deaf community with AIDS/HIV. My other interests lie in the history of hospice and care for the dying in the U.S. at the end of the twentieth century.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • B.A. with honors: Women and Gender Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, 2009-2011.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Disability Studies
  • History of Medicine, Disease, and Public Health
  • Women studies
  • oral history
Courses Taught
  • HMED 3002W Health Care in History (Spring 2017, Spring 2018)
  • AMST 3252W American Popular Culture and Politics 1900-1940 (Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
Research & Professional Activities


  • The AIDS Memorial Page-Instagram:,


  • Disability Intersections: An online magazine: An online magazine that looks at disability through an intersectional lens with special attention to culture, society, and social justice. Here are links to my writings: and the magazine itself:, 2014
  • Sylvia K. and Samuel L. Kaplan Graduate Research Fellowship in Social Justice, Fall 2018 (expected)
  • Summer Research Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2018 (expected)
  • Audrey Christensen Graduate Library Development Award, 2017
  • Thank A Teacher, Fall 2016
  • Noble/Erisman Fellowship , May 2016 - August 2016
  • Sylvia K. and Samuel L. Kaplan Graduate Research Fellowship in Social Justice, Spring 2016
  • Mary C. Turpie Fellowship , Fall 2015
  • University of California Regents Fellowship (declined), Fall 2015 - Spring 2016