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Criminal anthropology in the expert testimony of Mario Carrara, 1910–1930
Franco Orlandi

This chapter seeks to shed light on the controversial legacy of Italian criminal anthropologist Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909) by assessing the influence of Lombrosian forensic psychiatrists in Italian court cases of murder in the first decades of the twentieth century. It is based on the quantitative analysis of seventy-three murder trials and on the qualitative analysis of one murder trial held at the Court of Assize of Turin between 1907 and 1932 in which the criminal anthropologist Mario Carrara (1866–1937), Cesare Lombroso’s son-in-law and his successor to the Chair of Forensic Medicine at the University of Turin, was invited as an expert witness to determine the liability of the defendant to punishment. Analysing a variety of sources such as textbooks, psychiatric assessment reports and final jury verdicts, the chapter concludes that the way in which Lombrosian forensic culture was embedded in textbooks and guides for the expert witness differed a great deal from how it came to the fore in the courtroom. While Lombrosian criminal anthropologists defended the concept of the born criminal in their scientific publications, they were more reluctant to do so in front of a jury. Legal procedures, the marginal influence of Lombroso’s theories on Italian legal culture, and the adherence of the majority of judges and jurists to the classical tradition of criminal law did not prevent Lombrosian forensic experts from using them in their psychiatric assessment reports, but they did limit the ways in which the latter could be voiced.

in Forensic cultures in modern Europe
Enclothed impartiality, masculinity and the tailoring of a bourgeois expert persona in British courtrooms, 1920–1960
Pauline Dirven

This chapter studies the way expert witnesses dressed in British courtrooms to analyse how they presented themselves as trustworthy and authoritative knowledge-makers in the legal context. It illustrates that in British courtrooms experts did not ‘dress up’ as doctors or scientists; i.e. they did not wear their white coats or the kind of formal clothes that doctors usually wore to distinguish themselves from less highly skilled middle-class men. Instead, they wore a dark-coloured lounge suit, which had become the custom for most British middle-class men. This chapter argues that by doing so, experts embodied one of the crucial virtues of modern forensic culture, i.e. impartiality. They did so by evoking a sense of familiarity between themselves and the jury but also by building on gentlemanly fashion traditions in medicine and science aimed at securing social status for doctors and scientists in a society built on class differences. The chapter shows that, while a modern forensic regime – characterised by institutionalisation and professionalisation of the discipline – started to develop in the interwar years, popular performances of expert witnesses continued to rely on an older scientific and forensic culture. In the courtroom, in news media and in popular autobiographies expert witnesses embodied the ideal of impartiality by appealing to class-based mechanisms of building trust that had developed in the nineteenth century.

in Forensic cultures in modern Europe
Leonie Hannan

Chapter 2 considers personal experience as a route to knowledge-making through an examination of tacit knowledge and record-keeping in a domestic context. An opening case study focused on the transfer of tacit knowledge from servant to master concerning bread-making sets out the main challenges of finding evidence of these ways of knowing in the historical record. It also introduces key themes of gender, power relations and material knowledge. The second half of the chapter deals with record-keeping as an intrinsically domestic practice, but one that was foundational for scientific work. To do so, it considers two kinds of record-keeping: that relating to domestic provisioning (mainly drawn from recipe books) and weather diaries. Whilst the latter example relates more clearly to scientific enquiry, this chapter argues that the daily, domestic habits of keeping a note motivated a wide range of record-keeping including that which concerned the natural world. In the ephemera of everyday life, clear and purposeful practices of knowledge-making and transfer are visible. Keeping a record offered eighteenth-century people a level of control over their financial resources and home comfort, but also the possibility to participate in a larger project of collective enquiry.

in A culture of curiosity
Heather Wolffram

The process by which one forensic culture supplants another has been a key focus of recent histories of the forensic sciences. Burney and Pemberton’s study of the transition between body-centred and scene-centred forensics in England has highlighted the role of both international influences and local factors in determining how and by whom new forensic cultures are transmitted and taught. It has also raised the question of how the system of criminalistics advocated by Hans Gross and crucial to the birth of English CSI, was implemented in the parts of Europe where Gross’s influence was greatest. Focusing on the emergence of this new forensic culture in Germany at the fin de siècle, this chapter considers the belief that efforts to teach Grossian criminalistics should be concentrated on jurists. The fact that there was still no formal system for teaching criminalistics in Germany by 1918, it argues, left proponents of the new forensic culture anxious about the potential for miscarriages of justice and embarrassed by their nation’s scientific backwardness. While unable to force the reform of the legal curriculum, jurists and other criminal justice practitioners were able to implement makeshift means of educating their peers using handbooks, guides and short courses. They also kept up pressure for reform by practising ‘forensic patriotism’; a rhetorical strategy that leveraged Germany’s comparative weakness in the institutionalisation of the forensic sciences. German criminalists stressed the importance of scientific internationalism and continued to praise the superior systems of criminalistics in other countries, including those of enemy combatants.

in Forensic cultures in modern Europe
Open Access (free)
A descendants’ history
Author:

Afterlives of war is a study of the generations in Britain, Germany and Australia who were born after the First World War and lived in its shadow. They experienced the effects of the global cataclysm in their homes as young children before they knew the conflict as history. Yet because they were not direct witnesses, and their testimonies were ‘second hand’, the war’s impact on them was often hidden. Drawing on ninety interviews, observation of the First World War Centenary and research on the First World War past in the author’s own family, Afterlives documents the personal legacies of the conflict and the rich historical culture that descendants create. It investigates the letters, photographs, trench art and official records they hold in private archives, reconstructs their relationships with members of the war generation, and reflects on how the war past in the family shaped them as children and throughout their lives. It describes their efforts to piece together the war stories of their parents and grandparents and how they interact with national traditions of remembrance. Motivated by the experience of coming after, descendants have played a key role in the cultural memory of the First World War since 1918.

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Considers the impact of disability on the daughters of First World War veterans, detailing the ‘long histories of care’ across their lives, and the tensions between care, independence and citizenship.

in Afterlives of war
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Considers personal experiences of the dysentery epidemic which broke out at Gallipoli in the summer of 1915 and its bodily and mental impact on soldiers. It argues that the debilitating effects of dysentery have been concealed by the Anzac legend of hardy Australian manhood and that the myth was a counter-narrative which concealed the humiliation and bodily unmanning brought about by the condition. Gallipoli was not just a military failure, it was a bodily and psychological trauma, the memory of which was repressed in commemoration of the Anzacs.

in Afterlives of war
Open Access (free)
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in Afterlives of war
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This chapter considers the nature of descendant testimony and how descendants draw on imagination and public historical narratives to construct accounts of wars before their time. The chapter raises broader questions about the oral history interview, arguing that it can be seen as a creative endeavour that, for both the interviewer and interviewee, moves back and forth between fantasy and the reconstruction of the historical past.

in Afterlives of war
Open Access (free)
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This chapter considers the inter-generational transmission of war memory within families. It introduces the main theoretical approaches used in the study, from cultural memory through popular memory to family systems therapy. It discusses the framing of memory through trauma discourse, silence, gender, age and material objects.

in Afterlives of war