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Look Inside The Science of Proof

The Science of Proof
Forensic Medicine in Modern France

$110.00 (F)

Part of Studies in Legal History

  • Date Published: September 2022
  • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2022
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781009198332

$ 110.00 (F)

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About the Authors
  • The Science of Proof traces the rise of forensic medicine in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France and examines its implications for our understanding of expert authority. Tying real life cases to broader debates, the book analyzes how new forms of medical and scientific knowledge, many of which were pioneered in France, were contested, but ultimately accepted, and applied to legal problems and the administration of justice. The growing authority of medical experts in the French legal arena was nonetheless subject to sharp criticism and scepticism. The professional development of medicolegal expertise and its influence in criminal courts sparked debates about the extent to which it could reveal truth, furnish legal proof, and serve justice. Drawing on a wide base of archival and printed sources, Claire Cage reveals tensions between uncertainty about the reliability of forensic evidence and a new confidence in the power of scientific inquiry to establish guilt, innocence, and legal responsibility.

    • Brings together legal history, the history of medicine, and gender history to create a comprehensive historical analysis of modern France
    • Ties real life cases to broader debates and themes involving expertise, justice, and medical and scientific knowledge
    • Draws on a varied range of printed and archival sources
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘For historians of forensic sciences, The Science of Proof will be the model for future studies of how profoundly medico-legal institutions have been shaped by each nation’s unique history.’ Christopher Hamlin, co-author (with Ian Burney) of Global Forensic Cultures: Making Fact and Justice in the Modern Era

    ‘The Science of Proof traces the fine line forensic medical practitioners walked between confident promotion of their claims to authority, and the ever-present dangers of error, deception, and inconclusive evidence they faced in a hotly-contested and rapidly-changing arena.’ Cathy McClive, Florida State University

    ‘Claire Cage’s book is a comprehensive account of the professional development of legal-medical expertise in the context of the modernization of crime in an industrializing society. Scientific determinations of death, pregnancy, birth, and sexual crimes are carefully weighed in the balance with assessments of gender, age, class, and jury opinions.’ Robert A. Nye, Oregon State University

    ‘The Science of Proof guides the reader through the high stakes, high drama world of forensic medicine in nineteenth-century France. On topics ranging from poison to malingering, doctors debated with each other about which methods to use and with how much certainty. Cage's captivating and ambitious book is a must-read for anyone interested in legal history and the history of science.’ Meghan Roberts, Bowdoin College

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2022
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781009198332
    • length: 237 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2022
  • Table of Contents

    1. The science of death
    2. Poisoning and the problem of proof
    3. Deception and detection
    4. Reproductive bodies and crimes
    5. The forensics of sexual crimes against children
    Conclusion and Epilogue.

  • Author

    E. Claire Cage, University of South Alabama
    Claire Cage is Associate Professor of History at the University of South Alabama. Her first book Unnatural Frenchmen: The Politics of Priestly Celibacy and Marriage, 1720-1815 won the Baker-Burton Prize from the European History Section of the Southern Historical Association.

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