samedi 16 mai 2015

Science médico-légale et médecine

Locating Forensic Science and Medicine


University of Notre Dame Global Gateway, Trafalgar Square, London
24-25 July 2015

Organizers: Ian Burney and Neil Pemberton (CHSTM, Manchester), and Chris Hamlin (University of Notre Dame)

In recent years, forensic medicine and science have attained unprecedented visibility, representing a uniquely compelling, and at times contentious, example of applied expertise. Dominated by new laboratory-based techniques, modern practitioners and the public they serve live in an apparent era of forensic infallibility, characterised by precision methodologies deemed capable not merely of solving the most intractable of contemporary criminal cases, but also of retrospectively assessing, and often correcting, conclusions derived from past investigations. The declarative powers of modern forensics have penetrated the public imagination, showcased on in daily newspapers, in best-selling novels and on highly rated television shows. One consequence of this modern fascination with forensics is that it has created a normative standard of forensic truth, determined by the practices and procedures of DNA typing, which has impoverished our ability to recognize, understand, and explain forms of forensic practice operating in other times and other places.

The purpose of this conference is to explore ways, and assess the value, of thinking about forensics, past and present, from a broader, historical and trans-national perspective. The papers and discussion will raise questions about the importance of “location” (temporal and spatial) to the production and enactment of different forms of forensic knowledge – differences in legal systems (e.g. burdens of proof, roles of experts and witnesses), in medical and scientific institutional infrastructure and the degrees of credibility that they sustain, in the skills and distribution of investigative personnel, in financial and practical constraints on investigation, and in the popular cultures of forensics and of criminality within and against which forensic practitioners operate.

By foregrounding these thematic categories and running them through historically and contextually-grounded case studies, we should be able to develop new ways of thinking about forensics as a form of knowing and acting which draws on a range of techniques, technologies, and tacit understandings that extend beyond the normative standards set by our normative present and consider the embodied, particularistic and qualitative dimensions of forensic practices. How, for example, is trace hunting enacted differently by a Punjabi “tracker” and a US trained-sniffer dog, and what if anything links them, in terms of method, rationale, or terms of validation and admissibility? How and why might a poisoning trial in nineteenth-century Calcutta differ – procedurally, epistemologically, rhetorically – from one held in nineteenth-century Lyon? Is a network of forensic science laboratory designed for Empire different conceptually, administratively, or operationally, from one built for use in England, and how might those differences be mapped? How do bodies speak as medico-legal objects in an early twentieth century Beijing mortuary, and how might similarities and differences from those examined in a Parisian mortuary of the same era be significant for appreciating the importance of local variables in pursuit of ostensibly universal bodily truth?

Preliminary Conference Schedule

Day 1: Friday 24 July

10-10.45: Coffee and Registration

10.45-11.00: Welcome

11.00-1.00: Techniques of Detection
Projit Mukharji (University of Pennsylvania), A Cheechee Science: Race and Forensic Graphology in the British Imperium
Teresa Castro (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Capturing the Crime Scene: Metric photography and the Visual Technologies of French CSI
Mitra Sharafi (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Chemical Experts and Institutional Design in British India, 1856-1947

1.00-3.00: Lunch

3.00-5.00: Tracking and Traces
Neil Pemberton (University of Manchester), Blood Matters: Paul Kirk and the Performance of Blood Spatter Analysis in Modern American Forensic Culture
Gagan Preet Singh (Jawaharlal Nehru University), The Strange Science: Tracking and detection in the late nineteenth-century Punjab
Binyamin Blum (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Breeding Injustice: The Rise of Dog Tracking as Forensic Evidence in the British Empire, 1909-1945

6.00-8.00: Conference Reception

Day 2: Saturday 25 July

9.00-11.00: Institutions and Networks
Ian Burney (University of Manchester), Institutionalizing English CSI
Heather Wolffram (University of Canterbury), Forensic Knowledge and Forensic Networks in Britain’s Empire
José Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez (University of Valencia), Fingerprints and the Politics of Scientific Policing in twentieth-century Spain

11-11.30: Coffee

11.30-1.30: Poisons and Proofs
David Arnold (University of Warwick), Arsenic, Toxicology and Medical Jurisprudence in nineteenth-century India
Bettina Wahrig (Braunschweig University), ‘Carmen's Dirty Siblings’: Toxicology on Trial in nineteenth-century France
Marcus Carrier (University of Bielefeld), The Value(s) of Methods in the Courtroom: Epistemic Values for Method Selection in Forensic Toxicology in Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century

1.30-3.00: Lunch

3.00-5.00: Bodies of Evidence
Daniel Asen (Rutgers University), Forensic Modernities and the Body in early twentieth-century China
Jeffrey Jentzen (University of Michigan), Death and Empire: Medico-legal institutions and medico-legal practice across the British empire
Bruno Bertherat (University of Avignon), Cleaning out the mortuary and the medico-legal text: Ambroise Tardieu’s modernizing enterprise

5.00-5.45: Closing Comments & Discussion
Chris Hamlin (University of Notre Dame)

Click here to register. Deadline 10 July 2015. 

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