Tavi Gonzalez

Barbara Morris Caspersen Associate Professor of Humanities and Associate Professor of English

Queer literary studies, including representations of HIV/AIDS; transatlantic Modernism, including the Harlem Renaissance; and the 20C Novel.

Octavio R. Gonzalez is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Wellesley College. He teaches courses on American queer literature and culture, British and American modernism, and the twentieth century novel. Such courses include The Harlem Renaissance; Sapphic Modernism; The Gay 1990s; and Writing AIDS, 1981-Present.

His monograph, Misfit Modernism: Queer Forms of Double Exile in the Twentieth-Century Novel, was recently published in the Refiguring Modernism imprint from Pennsylvania State University Press (September 2020). His first poetry collection, The Book of Ours, was a selection of the chapbook series at Letras Latinas, University of Notre Dame (Momotombo Press, 2009). He is currently working on a second poetry manuscript, entitled “Limerence: The Wingless Hour.” Some poems from this collection appear in Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight, Anomaly, La Guagua, and the “Taboo” series at La Casita Grande Salon, as well as an anthology of Dominican poets in the diaspora (Retrato intimo de poetas dominicanos, https://amzn.to/2Sz051V). Other poems appear in Puerto del Sol, OCHO, and MiPoesias, among other journals. You can follow him on Twitter @TaviRGonzalez.


  • B.A., Swarthmore College
  • M.A., Pennsylvania State University
  • M.A., Rutgers University
  • Ph.D., Rutgers University

Current and upcoming courses

  • AIDS changed how we live our lives, and this course looks at writings tracing the complex, sweeping ramifications of the biggest sexual-health crisis in world history. This course looks at diverse depictions and genres of H.I.V./AIDS writing, including Pulitzer Prize-winning plays like Angels In America and bestselling popular-science "contagion narratives" like And the Band Played On; independent films like Greg Araki's The Living End and Oscar-winning features and documentaries like Philadelphia, Precious, and How to Survive a Plague. We will read about past controversies and ongoing developments in AIDS history and historiography. These include unyielding stigma and bio-political indifference, met with activism, service, and advocacy; transforming biomedical research to increase access to better treatments, revolutionizing AIDS from death sentence to chronic condition; proliferating "moral panics" about public sex, "barebacking," and "PrEP" (pre-exposure prevention), invoking problematic constructs like "Patient Zero," "being on the Down Low," "party and play" subculture, and the "Truvada whore"; and constructing a global bio-political apparatus ("AIDS Inc.") to control and protect populations. We will look at journal articles, scholarly and popular-science books (excerpts), as well as literary and cinematic texts. Also some archival materials from ACT UP Boston, the activist group. Fulfills the Diversity of Literatures in English requirement. (ENG 294 and WGST 294 are cross-listed courses.)