Descartes Centre History of Science colloquium with Willemijn Ruberg – 19 March 2019 (Utrecht)

19 March 2019 – 15.30 – 17.00h, Sweelinckzaal, Utrecht University

A cultural history of forensic science

In this talk Dr Willemijn Ruberg will introduce her research project ‘Forensic Culture. A Comparative Analysis of Forensic Practices in Europe, 1930-2000’, funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant (2018-2023). The project starts from the idea that cultural ideas and practices have been major determinants in the position of scientific experts (including doctors and psychiatrists) in the courtroom. It compares forensic practices in four European countries (the Netherlands, England, Spain and Russia) with differing legal systems and ideologies and focuses on criminal cases in which gender plays an important role, such as rape, murder and infanticide. These cases often play out in the media as well as the courtroom and can demonstrate the influence of cultural images of gender on the role of European forensic science. Ruberg I will specifically address the advantages and pitfalls of the notion of ‘forensic culture’ in relation to new studies on expertise.

Dr. Willemijn Ruberg
Willemijn Ruberg is an associate professor in Cultural History at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on the history of the body, gender and (forensic) medicine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has just completed the textbook History of the Body as part of the Theory and History series of Red Globe Press (formerly Palgrave) (forthcoming late 2019 or early 2020).