The viral underclass : the human toll when inequality and disease collide / Steven W. Thrasher.

  • Thrasher, Steven W.
  • Books

About this work


"From preeminent LGBTQ scholar, social critic, and journalist Steven W. Thrasher comes a powerful and crucial exploration of one of the most pressing issues of our times: how viruses expose the fault lines of society. Having spent a ground-breaking career studying the racialization, policing, and criminalization of HIV, Dr. Thrasher has come to understand a deeper truth at the heart of our society: that there are vast inequalities in who is able to survive viruses and that the ways in which viruses spread, kill, and take their toll are much more dependent on social structures than they are on biology alone. Told through the heart-rending stories of friends, activists, and teachers navigating the novel coronavirus, HIV, and other viruses, Dr. Thrasher brings the reader with him as he delves into the viral underclass and lays bare its inner workings. In the tradition of Isabel Wilkerson's Caste and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, The Viral Underclass helps us understand the world more deeply by showing the fraught relationship between privilege and survival."--From publisher.


New York : Celadon Books, 2022.

Physical description

xiv, 334 pages ; 25 cm


First edition.


Foreword / Jonathan M. Metzl -- An invitation: sirens, silence, standby -- I. Blame. Mandingo: racism -- The infinite weight of zero: individualized shame -- Parasite: Capitalism -- II. Law and order. Guilty until proven innocent: the law -- From Athens to Appalachia: austerity -- Borderlands: borders -- Cages: the liberal carceral state -- III. Social death. One in two: unequal prophylaxis -- Disability as disposability: ableism -- Ride-along: speciesism -- IV. Reckoning. Release: the myth of white immunity -- Compound loss: collective punishment -- Epilogue: Why am I "me" and you are "you"? -- Support statement.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    FQ /THR
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9781250796639
  • 1250796636