Cover image for The Art of Identification: Forensics, Surveillance, Identity Edited by Rex Ferguson, Melissa M. Littlefield, and James Purdon

The Art of Identification

Forensics, Surveillance, Identity

Edited by Rex Ferguson, Melissa M. Littlefield, and James Purdon

Buy

$119.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09057-3

$ | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09058-0
Coming in November

Available as an e-book

262 pages
6" × 9"
3 b&w illustrations
2021

AnthropoScene: The SLSA Book Series

The Art of Identification

Forensics, Surveillance, Identity

Edited by Rex Ferguson, Melissa M. Littlefield, and James Purdon

“While there is now a growing literature on identification, there is no volume, as far as I know, so firmly rooted in literary studies, as compared to historical approaches. The Art of Identification makes a significant, original, and novel contribution to the literature.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Since the mid-nineteenth century, there has been a notable acceleration in the development of the techniques used to confirm identity. From fingerprints to photographs to DNA, we have been rapidly amassing novel means of identification, even as personal, individual identity remains a complex chimera. The Art of Identification examines how such processes are entangled within a wider sphere of cultural identity formation.

Against the backdrop of an unstable modernity and the rapid rise and expansion of identificatory techniques, this volume makes the case that identity and identification are mutually imbricated and that our best understanding of both concepts and technologies comes through the interdisciplinary analysis of science, bureaucratic infrastructures, and cultural artifacts. With contributions from literary critics, cultural historians, scholars of film and new media, a forensic anthropologist, and a human bioarcheologist, this book reflects upon the relationship between the bureaucratic, scientific, and technologically determined techniques of identification and the cultural contexts of art, literature, and screen media. In doing so, it opens the interpretive possibilities surrounding identification and pushes us to think about it as existing within a range of cultural influences that complicate the precise formulation, meaning, and reception of the concept.

In addition to the editors, the contributors to this volume include Dorothy Butchard, Patricia E. Chu, Jonathan Finn, Rebecca Gowland, Liv Hausken, Matt Houlbrook, Rob Lederer, Andrew Mangham, Victoria Stewart, and Tim Thompson.

“While there is now a growing literature on identification, there is no volume, as far as I know, so firmly rooted in literary studies, as compared to historical approaches. The Art of Identification makes a significant, original, and novel contribution to the literature.”
“In a world increasingly dominated by technological forms of human surveillance, identification, and profiling, it is ever more important to examine how such processes affect how we feel and understand ourselves and others. The exciting essays in The Art of Identification are a signal contribution to this task. The collection will fascinate humanities scholars, scientists, and AI ethicists alike.”

Rex Ferguson is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Birmingham.

Melissa M. Littlefield is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

James Purdon is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of St Andrews.

Introduction

Rex Ferguson, Melissa M. Littlefield, and James Pardon

Part 1: Genres of Identification

1. Charming Faces and the Problem of Identification

Matt Houlbrook

2. Identity Noir

James Pardon

3. “The Ghosts of Individual Peculiarities”: Murder and Interpretation in Dickens

Andrew Mangham

4. “A Puzzle of Character”: Francis Iles and Narratives of Criminality in the 1930s

Victoria Stewart

Part 2: The Body Captured

5. The Art of Identification: The Skeleton and Human Identity

Rebecca Gowland and Tim Thompson

6. Becoming More Biological: Ruth Ozeki and the Postgenomic Ethnoracial Novel

Patricia E. Chu

7. Identification Made Visible: Photographic Evidence and Russell Williams

Jonathan Finn

Part 3: Surveillant Technologies

8. The Face in the Biometric Passport

Liv Hausken

9. The Bourne Identification

Rex Ferguson

10. Identification and the “Intelligent City”

Dorothy Butchard

11. Jennifer Egan and the Database

Rob Lederer

Contributors

Index