AIDS Quilt in memory of Bud Shaw

Quiltblock in memory of Bud Shaw, American Studies graduate at Dickinson College

2021 Bud Shaw Lecture will be presented on Wednesday, December 1st at 5:00pm on Zoom.

This year's speaker will be Tiya Miles, Professor of History at Harvard University.  Dr. Miles' talk will be "This Sack":  Reconstructing Enslaved Women's Lives through Objects." 

In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose faced the imminent sale of her nineteen-year-old daughter Ashley.  Thinking quickly, Rose packed a cotton bag with a few precious items.  Where the historical record overlooks these women's lives, Miles turns to a rich archive of art and objects -- like Ashley's bag -- that offers us a fuller history.

Donald B. “Bud” Shaw was a 1980 alumnus of Dickinson and an American Studies major. An active, engaged student, Bud received the prestigious Hufstader Prize – given to two seniors judged to have contributed the most to the College over their four years here. Bud was passionate about American literature and culture; and, naturally, he found an intellectual home in the American Studies department, where he wrote a senior thesis on P. T. Barnum and American hucksterism. He also found in the department’s classes and faculty resources that would enable him to claim his own voice and identity as a gay man during a time when most GLBTQ people felt they had little choice but to remain closeted.

After Bud graduated, he gravitated to environments where he would be accepted living as an openly gay man– places like New York, Washington, D.C., and Palm Springs. He worked in business until his diagnosis as HIV-positive, at which point he turned to AIDS activism, serving as vice-president of the Desert AIDS project in California. As his illness progressed, he moved back East to be closer to his friends and family, and renewed his ties with Dickinson. He returned to campus in 1991 to speak about the AIDS crisis, and the dangerous combinations of substance abuse and unsafe sex. He wanted his story to help college students at Dickinson and elsewhere. Bud was scheduled to speak at a Common Hour the next year, but died two weeks before, in March of 1992.

Bud Shaw’s Dickinson friends honored him by contributing a panel to the AIDS quilt in his memory. And Bud honored us by leaving a generous bequest to the American Studies department in his will. We have used Bud’s gift to fund the annual Shaw Lecture, which has brought to campus distinguished scholars, artists and activists to present compelling and challenging ideas to the campus community, and to consult with our senior majors on their thesis projects. Bud’s legacy has enabled us to carry on the tradition of intellectual enrichment and discovery from which he benefitted as a Dickinson student and American Studies major.

Previous Shaw Lecture speakers:

  • Grace Kyungwon Hong, UCLA
  • Philip Deloria, Harvard University
  • Maria Josefina Saldaña, New York University
  • Dustin Tahmahkera, University of Texas at Austin
  • David Roediger, University of Kansas
  • Eric Avila, UCLA
  • Michelle Stephens, Rutgers University
  • Nan Enstad, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Penny von Eschen, University of Michigan
  • Matthew Frye Jacobsen, Yale University
  • Mles Orvell, Temple University
  • Nikhil Pal Singh, New York University
  • Josh Kuhn, University of Southern California
  • Lisa Duggan, New York University
  • Michael Warner, Rutgers University
  • Martin Dubberman, City University of New York