Story+ Project

An Illustrated Memoir of the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic: The Maria de Bruyn Papers Speak


Story+ | The Maria de Bruyn Papers Speak: An Illustrated Memoir of the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

For the Story+ summer 2018 project, An Illustrated Memoir of the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic:  Archives Speak, students produced a modified graphic novel that tells a story of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic based on materials from the Maria de Bruyn archive in the Rubenstein Library.  The students explored materials from the archive, including NGO brochures, conference proceedings, fieldwork notes, ephemera such as condoms, key chains and posters, to find the stories within. Students conducted supporting research, such as literature reviews and even interviews, and kept a journal of their developing awareness of the contents of the archive and track their emerging research questions. By the end of this project, students developed a more complex understanding of the history of the global HIV and AIDS pandemic, developed archival research skills and strengthened their writing skills, and gained an appreciation of the emerging value of humanities research for the field of global health.

Project Sponsor(s): 

Kearsley Stewart, Professor of the Practice, Global Health and Cultural Anthropology, Duke University 

Rachel Ingold, Curator, History of Medicine Collections, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Perkins Library, Duke University

Maria de Bruyn, Independent Scholar, Chapel Hill, NC; donor of the Maria de Bruyn Papers at the Rubenstein Library, Duke University

Graduate Mentor(s): 

Max Symuleski, PhD Candidate Computational Media, Arts and Cultures


Winston (Brock) Foreman, Ashley Manigo, Christina Shin


memoir book coverThe students created HIV & AIDS, A Global Pandemic: Illustrating the Maria de Bruyn Archives.

Drawing from the Maria de Bruyn archive as well as secondary sources, this zine explores how narratives about HIV and AIDS have changed from the early 1980s to the present, and how the virus continues to impact populations globally. At first, we were told HIV and AIDS affected mostly gay men. Later, we heard women could be infected with HIV and then infect their babies when pregnant. Then,  we were told it mostly affected "risk groups” - people like sex workers, truck drivers, drug users - instead of simply being a virus that could be transmitted to anyone at all through blood, sexual contacts and breast milk. Today, we don't hear much about it. Don't you wonder how HIV and AIDS have affected - and still have an impact on - women around the world? Each of our contributions attempts to answer this question.
Brock Foreman’s chapter, The Right To, examines items from a UN-published list of human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS, the violation of those rights in many places historically, and threats still posed to them today. The chapter HIV Through the Lens of a Woman by Ashley Manigo discusses the intersection of HIV and gender inequality and the social and biological constructs built around it.
The chapter by Christina Shin, Some Thoughts at Night, takes a retrospective look at legislation, public media, and personal testimonies of women living with HIV and AIDS, drawing primarily on sources from the United States, Thailand, South Africa, and Australia.
For a lower-resolution file which might download faster, try this: Quick-Downloading HIV & AIDS, A Global Pandemic: Illustrating the Maria de Bruyn Archives.
Duke Global Health One student's rough draft of her Humument project using a page from Maria de Bruyn's archival collection.


  • Visual Media
  • Archives
  • Human Rights
  • Global Health

Skills required

  • Collaborative Work
  • Desktop Publishing Software
  • Secondary Source & Database Research
  • Website Design
  • Working with Primary Sources & Archival Research
  • Writing & Editing