An Actor Network Study of Fingerprinting in Canada


Project Summary:

Project Description:

This study is intened to be an extension of work originally started in my Master's thesis. It is intended that this research will yield a paper or a book chapter. In my Master's thesis, I noted that "The North-American fingerprint expert was born a policeman and fingerprints were initially "sold" to the police as an effective identification tool." The initial purpose for which fingerprinting was developed was not to solve crimes but rather as a replacement for more crumbersome techiques already in place for the identification of incarcerated prisoners. However, in the early twentieth century, the notion of using latent fingerprints to solve crimes was developed and fingerprinting became not only a prisoner identification technique but also what we would properly call a technique of forensic science. In this project, I would like to expand upon the initial work I did for my Master's thesis and tease out the process by which fingerprinting became translated from an identification technique to a crime-solving technique in Canada in the early twentieth century. This involves the expansion of what had been a largely descriptive legal history study into an actor-network study of the early history of fingerprinting in Canada.

Project Type:
Funded

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Month
Year
Start Date:
2006
End Date:

Funder:
Junior Faculty Fund

Year Project Started:
2006

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Funder
Amount
(e.g type 1000 for 1,000)
1
Junior Faculty Fund
1000
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