Interview: Eric Wat, Love Your Asian Body

I’m excited to say that my interview with Eric Wat about his wonderful book Love Your Asian Body: AIDS Activism in Los Angeles went up yesterday at Nursing Clio just in time for World AIDS Day! I first wrote about Eric’s book her over a year ago, in a post about what I had read during the summer of 2022. I actually interviewed him around that time, but the fall semester started, I was back in the classroom, and I got hit with what felt like a freight train of service responsibilities (no accident that I haven’t posted here in over a year).

Thankfully (and also sadly) the interview is still very relevant. Eric talks about how his personal story is intertwined with the activist history that he documents, why he chose to write the book when he did (tl;dr because Trump), and how it speaks to the period of anti-queer backlash that we’re living through (that’s the sad part of it still being relevant over a year later).

In any case, I’m happy that the interview is finally out in the world, because I can’t say enough good things about this book. And I’m not alone in my regard—Love Your Asian Body won the 2023 Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for History.

Eric Wat holds his award from the Association for Asian American Studies for Love Your Asian Body.

There is so much work to be done on documenting histories of AIDS activism in communities of color, and to my knowledge this is the first book to do that for Asian American communities. For that reason I found it really useful when I was writing up my chapter “The AIDS Crisis” in the forthcoming Cambridge History of Sexuality in the United States, and I look forward to revisiting it again and again in the future.

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