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The manifold materialities of human remains
Claudia Fonseca
Rodrigo Grazinoli Garrido

In this article we explore the relational materiality of fragments of human cadavers used to produce DNA profiles of the unidentified dead at a forensic genetics police laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. Our point of departure is an apparently simple problem: how to discard already tested materials in order to open up physical space for incoming tissue samples. However, during our study we found that transforming human tissues and bone fragments into disposable trash requires a tremendous institutional investment of energy, involving negotiations with public health authorities, criminal courts and public burial grounds. The dilemma confronted by the forensic genetic lab suggests not only how some fragments are endowed with more personhood than others, but also how the very distinction between human remains and trash depends on a patchwork of multiple logics that does not necessarily perform according to well-established or predictable scripts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Criminal cases and the projection of expectations about forensic DNA technologies in the Portuguese press
Filipe Santos

several landmark criminal cases where forensic genetics and scientific credibility played a key role, prompting the ‘genetic age’ of forensic identification. 13 In broad terms, CSI draws on these developments to render a fictional portrayal of forensic science as a sort of ‘truth machine’ that will use evidence, logic and reasoning to identify the real offender and exonerate the innocent. 14

in Forensic cultures in modern Europe