Forensics and the Empire -- Binyamin Blum
As a legal historian of the British Empire, Binyamin Blum specializes in the relation between law and colonialism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Blum’s current book project Forensic Culture in the Age of Empire explores the colonial origins of forensic science. Building on the observation that many of the forensic technologies of the nineteenth century were invented by non-scientists in the colonies, the book explores the cultural underpinnings of forensic epistemology as a new approach towards fact-finding. Stemming from perceived notions concerning native mendacity, non-cooperation and the difficulties of cross-racial identification, forensic science rendered crime scenes legible without the mediation of native eyewitnesses, thus facilitating policing across the cultural gaps of empire.
Blum also writes on current issues of evidence and proof, such as the suppression of confessions and the exclusion of unlawfully obtained evidence more generally, the spousal privilege, DNA and circumstantial evidence, rape shield statutes and character evidence.