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Distributed for Reaktion Books

‘I Know Who Caused COVID-19’

Pandemics and Xenophobia

A timely exploration of the global explosion in xenophobia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through a close analysis of four cases from around the world, this book explores prejudice toward groups who are thought to have caused and spread COVID-19: the residents of Wuhan and Black African communities in China; ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel; African-Americans in the United States and Black/Asian/mixed ethnic communities in the United Kingdom; and White right-wing groups in the United States and Europe. The authors examine stereotyping and the false attribution of blame towards these groups, as well as what happens when a collective is actually at fault, and how the community deals with these conflicting issues.
This is a timely, cogent examination of the blame and xenophobia that have been brought to the surface by the COVID-19 pandemic.

256 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2


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“The questions of where [COVID-19] came from, and just who is responsible for all this devastation and loss, have assumed outsize importance. This is perhaps why blame has become central to many discussions, with all the problems that brings. People want to know whose fault COVID-19 is. Zhou and Gilman explore this territory in their book... The authors examine the experiences of, and attitudes towards, a number of groups that have found themselves in the spotlight.”


“While still in the midst of a public health crisis, we are fortunate to have two scholars who expertly weave their way through the infectious and symbolic threats that have roiled us all. Mass death and moral panics, scapegoating and the weaponization of past victimhood, examples like SARS, Ebola, and AIDS, communal dynamics around race and religion: all these and more have been scrambled in the great distress of this plague. Through their nuanced analyses, Gilman and Zhou allow us to reconsider these matters and the forces that have distorted and upended attempts to respond to a global pandemic as just that.”

George Makari, director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine, and author of "Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia"

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