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Seminar ‘No illness without cure: HIV/AIDS, care, and optimism in Aceh, Indonesia’

16/04/2015 @ 15:30 - 17:00

Seminar by Annemarie Samuels. While the number of diagnosed cases of HIV and AIDS in Aceh keeps rising, the province’s prevention and health care facilities in this field remain very limited up till now. As in other parts of Indonesia, the disease is highly stigmatized and people whose HIV-positive status becomes publicly known risk severe discrimination and exclusion.

In this talk Annemarie Samuels explores how in Acehnese society, where care is primarily situated in everyday family life, people living with HIV/AIDS carefully navigate between stigma and silence on the one hand and the need for care on the other hand. By focusing on narratives and experiences of patients attached to a small support group in Banda Aceh, Samuels attends to the ways in which support group staff try to help patients to imagine new futures by combining the global and local discourses of medicine, religion and relationality.

Samuels specifically looks at the role of the Indonesian concept of semangat (spirit, energy, optimism) in the caring work done for and by people living with HIV/AIDS. She suggests that the active cultivation of semangat as an attitude and a cultural virtue reveals the ways in which global HIV/AIDS discourses meet local cultural and religious practices, including an Islamic religious sensibility toward illness and healing. It moreover illuminates social and cultural possibilities for perseverance and imagining the future in conditions of distress.

Annemarie Samuels received her PhD from Leiden University in 2012. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam, where she works on a research project about HIV/AIDS and care in Aceh.

If you wish to attend please register with Yayah Siegers: [email protected].


15:30 - 17:00
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KITLV, room 138
Reuvensplaats 2
Leiden, Netherlands
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