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Daniel Defert (born September 10, 1937) is a prominent French AIDS activist and the founding president (1984–1991) of the first AIDS awareness organization in France, AIDES. He started the organization after the death of his partner, the French philosopher Michel Foucault. He is an alumnus of the École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud.
A professor of sociology, Daniel Defert has been assistant (1969–1970), maître-assistant (1971–1985), then maître de conférence (from 1985) at the Centre Universitaire of Vincennes, which became in 1972 Université Paris VIII Vincennes. He has been a member of the scientific committee for human sciences of the International Conference on AIDS (1986–94); member of the World Commission for AIDS (World Health Organization) (1988–93); member of the National Committee for AIDS (1989–98), of the Global AIDS Policy Coalition of Harvard University (1994–1997), and of the French "Haut Comité de la Santé Publique" (from 1998).
Daniel Defert is author of numerous articles in the domain of ethno-iconography and public health. He has been awarded the decoration of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and received in 1998 the Alexander Onassis prize for the creation of AIDES.
Life with Foucault
Daniel Defert met Foucault while he was a philosophy student at the University of Clermont-Ferrand in France and their relationship lasted from 1963 until Foucault's death in 1984. They described their relationship as a "state of passion". It was Foucault's death from AIDS, a disease about which little was known at the time, that led Defert to enter the field of AIDS activism. He also co-edited with François Ewald volume 4 of Dits et Ecrits of Michel Foucault (1994), a posthumous collection of Foucault's thought.
Notes and references
- Işıl Baş, Donald Cary Freeman (eds.), Challenging the Boundaries, Rodopi, 2007, p. x.
- AIDES official website
- "Les Derniers jours" Interview with Daniel Defert in Libération, 19 June 2004
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