This book identifies, traces, and interrogates contemporary American culture's fascination with forensic science. It looks to the many different sites, genres, and media where the forensic has become a cultural commonplace. It turns firstly to the most visible spaces where forensic science has captured the collective imagination: crime films and television programs. In contemporary screen culture, crime is increasingly framed as an area of scientific inquiry and, even more frequently, as an area of concern for female experts. One of the central concerns of this book is the gendered nature of expert scientific knowledge, as embodied by the ubiquitous character of the female investigator. Steenberg argues that our fascination with the forensic depends on our equal fascination with (and suspicion of) women's bodies—with the bodies of the women investigating and with the bodies of the mostly female victims under investigation.
Part 1: The Forensic Sub-Genre 1. Retrofit Forensics: Excavating the Mythic Origins of Forensic Science 2. The Forensic Women’s Gothic: Postfeminism and Expertise 3. Forensic Archaeologies on Crime Television: Science and Gender as Seen on TV Part 2: Forensics Beyond the Crime Genre 4. The CSI Effect 5. Forensic Science at the Museum 6. Forensic Science and Lifestyle