Forensic Cultures in Interdisciplinary Perspectives

University of Manchester, UK
Friday 11 – Saturday 12 June 2010

This international conference examines in analytical and historical perspective the remarkable prominence of forensic science and medicine in contemporary culture. It brings together leading scholars from history, sociology and socio-legal studies, media and cultural studies, and practitioners working within the diverse locations of forensic culture – from crime scenes and bio-medical laboratories to television studios. Topics for discussion include the politics and practice of DNA evidence, the use of « cold case review » in re-evaluating celebrated murder trials from the past, the historical invention of « crime scene investigation », the work of forensic identification at mass grave sites, and media forensics –- including a dinner event featuring the creators of the BBC forensic dramas _Waking the Dead_ and _Silent Witness_.

Forensic Cultures is sponsored by the University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM), and by the Wellcome Trust.

For further details, including registration information, please see the conference website at
www.chstm.manchester.ac.uk/forensics/

or contact the organisers, Dr Ian Burney (ian.burney@manchester.ac.uk) and Dr David Kirby (david.kirby@manchester.ac.uk).

PROGRAMME

DAY 1 (Friday 11 June)

Registration and Tea/Coffee: 9.45 -10.30

Introduction: 10.30 – 11.00

Session I: Broad Themes (11.00 – 12.45)

Christopher Hamlin, University of Notre Dame
« Forensic Cultures in Historical Perspective »

Michael Lynch, Cornell University
« Science, Truth, and Forensic Cultures: The exceptional legal status attributed to DNA evidence »

Paul Roberts, University of Nottingham
« Negotiating Forensics: Between Law, Science, and Criminal Justice »

Lunch: 1.00 – 2.00

Session II: Historical Case Studies (2.00 – 3.45)

Ian Burney and Neil Pemberton, University of Manchester
« Traces and Places: The Making of the Modern Crime Scene »

Anne Crowther, University of Glasgow
« The Ruxton murders: an early exercise in co-operative forensics »

Alison Winter, University of Chicago
« Securing memory in cold-war America »

Refreshments: 3.45 – 4.15

Session III: Practitioner Perspectives (4.15 – 6.00)
David Foran, Michigan State University
« Did Crippen do it? Reflections on Retrospective Forensics »

William Haglund, International Forensic Program, Physicians for Human Rights
« Thresholds of Identity: The Ethics, Politics and Science of Mass Grave Forensics »

Caroline Wilkinson, University of Dundee
« Facial Identification of the Dead: The ethical issues associated with the facial depiction of unknown human remains »

Dinner and Evening Event: Screening Forensics (7.00 – 10.30)

Barbara Machin, Creator, _Waking the Dead_
Nigel McCrery, Creator, _Silent Witness_

DAY 2 (Saturday 12 June)

Tea/Coffee: 9.30 – 10.00

Session I: Analyzing Practices (10.00 – 11.45)

Simon Cole, University of California, Irvine
« Forensic Reality?: CSI, Media, and Technoscience »

Gary Edmond, University of New South Wales
« Suspect science and unreliable law: The legal topography of ‘facial mapping’ evidence »

Barbara Prainsack, King’s College, University of London
« Views from the inside: Self-stigmatisation and biopolitical discourse in Austrian prisons. A case study on forensic DNA technologies »

Lunch: 12.00 – 1.00

Session II: Forensic Publics (1.00 – 2.45)

Deborah Jermyn, Roehampton University
« Labs and Slabs: Prime Suspect, TV crime drama and the quest for forensic realism »

David Kirby, University of Manchester
« Forensic Fictions: The Production of Forensic Science in Television Dramas »

Michael Sappol, National Library of Medicine, NIH
« (in)Visible Proofs; or, The case of the hidden politics of forensic exhibitionism »


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