Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP, New York, 1987-1993

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February 27, 2024
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Event category: Lecture

Please join the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program for a conversation with writer, historian, and activist Sarah Schulman. Schulman will share material from her recently published oral history of ACT UP, Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP, New York, 1987-1993.

This talk is part of the Dr. Thomas Klein Gender and Sexuality Speaker Series. This event is free and open to the public on Zoom.

About the book

Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today’s activists, Let the Record Show is a revelatory exploration—and long-overdue reassessment—of the coalition’s inner workings, conflicts, achievements, and ultimate fracture. Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, explores the how and the why, examining, with her characteristic rigor and bite, how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever, and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.

Winner of the 2022 Lambda Literary LGBTQ Nonfiction Award and the 2022 NLGJA Excellence in Book Writing Award. Finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, the Gotham Book Prize, and the ALA Stonewall Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award. A 2021 New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. One of NPR, New York, and The Guardian's Best Books of 2021, one of Buzzfeed's Best LGBTQ+ Books of 2021, one of Electric Literature's Favorite Nonfiction Books of 2021, one of NBC's 10 Most Notable LGBTQ Books of 2021, and one of Gay Times’ Best LGBTQ Books of 2021.

About the author

Sarah Schulman is Ralla Klepak Professor of English at Northwestern University where she teaches Creative Writing (Nonfiction and Fiction) with an emphasis on manuscript development. She is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer, and AIDS historian.

Sarah is a native New Yorker, born in 1958, who started as a journalist in the grassroots lesbian, gay, and feminist press in 1979. That year she became active in the Reproductive Rights Movement, working for abortion rights and against sterilization abuse. Her first plays were produced as part of the Downtown Arts Scene of the 1980s, and her first novel was published in 1984.

In 1986 Sarah and her longtime collaborator Jim Hubbard started MIX: The Queer Experimental Film and Video Festival which lasted for 33 years. She has been a collaborator on many experimental films, including screenwriter or co-screenwriter for 4 features: The Owls (dir. Cheryl Dunye), Mommy Is Coming (dir. Cheryl Dunye), Jason and Shirley (dir. Stephen Winter) and United In Anger: A History of ACT UP (dir. Jim Hubbard). 

She was a member of ACT UP, New York from 1987 to 1992, and a co-founder of the Lesbian Avengers. Today she serves on the Advisory Board of Jewish Voice for Peace and is co-director of The ACT UP Oral History Project

She is the author of 20 books, including novels in multiple genres: historical fiction, literary fiction, experimental work, detective novels and speculative fiction. 

February 2024