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Type: Public event

Criminal knowledge: Evidence, expertise, and the carceral state

Part of the Behind Walls, Beyond Discipline: Science, Technology, and the Carceral State webinar series


Lindsay Smith (Arizona State Univ.), Andrea Quinlan (Univ. of Waterloo), Cristina Mejia Visperas (Univ. of Southern California), Melissa Burch (Univ. of Michigan)

Date & time

May 21, 2021, 12:00 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

From physiognomy to predictive policing, technoscience has long been central to the power of the carceral state. At the same time, carceral sites such as prisons, courtrooms, and crime scenes facilitate and even demand technoscientific interventions. Forensic and legal ideals of truth, neutrality, and incontrovertible evidence coexist uncomfortably with the complicated politics of technoscientific expertise. This panel seeks to extend STS insights into the production and politics of expertise through engagement with research on the carceral state. It addresses questions including: How do forensic ideals of evidentiary truth and legal ideals of guilt, innocence, and punishment shape scientific and technical expertise and vice versa? What kinds of expertise do carceral sites make possible, and how does carceral expertise compare across these different sites? 


  • Lindsay Smith, Arizona State University
  • Andrea Quinlan, University of Waterloo
  • Cristina Mejia Visperas, University of Southern California
  • Chaired by Melissa Burch, University of Michigan

Behind Walls, Beyond Discipline: Science, Technology & the Carceral State

Behind Walls, Beyond Discipline: Science, Technology, and the Carceral State is a series of weekly events held virtually every Friday between May 14 and June 11, 2021 at noon Eastern. Events include a featured conversation with Keith Breckenridge, three panels that bring together international experts to discuss a single theme, and discussion of the film El Panóptico Ciego. Discussions will draw from short, pre-recorded talks which will be available to registrants two weeks before each event. Attendance at each event's webinar requires separate registration. This event is sponsored by the Ford School's Science, Technology, and Public Policy program and LSA's Science, Technology, and Society program. For more information, and a full list of co-sponsors, visit

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