Qijun Han (Nanjing University of Science and Technology) and Daniel R. Curtis (History Department at Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication) have recently published a new book entitled "Infectious Inequalities: Epidemics, Trust, and Social Vulnerabilities in Cinema".
This book explores societal vulnerabilities highlighted within cinema and develops an interpretive framework for understanding the depiction of societal responses to epidemic disease outbreaks across cinematic history. Drawing on a large database of twentieth- and twenty-first-century films depicting epidemics, the study examines issues including trust, distrust, and mistrust; different epidemic experiences down the lines of expertise, gender, and wealth; and the difficulties in visualising the invisible pathogen on screen. The authors argue that epidemics have long been presented in cinema as forming a point of cohesion for the communities portrayed, as individuals and groups “from below” represented as characters in these films find solidarity in battling a common enemy of elite institutions and authority figures. Throughout the book, a central question is also posed: “cohesion for whom?”, which sheds light on the fortunes of those characters that are excluded from these expressions of collective solidarity.