In Crime's Archive: The Cultural Afterlife of Evidence. By Katherine Biber. London: Routledge, 2018.

Date01 June 2019
Published date01 June 2019
Sociolegal scholars will appreciate the application of critical
theory to this important case, especially the role of law in shaping
subjects and the role of subjects in shaping law. In particular,
Elander’s explanation of the hypocrisy behind the court’s creation
highlights what law and society scholars know well about how law
reflects and reinforces existing power structures. Likewise,
scholars of critical theory and international law, particularly those
hoping to broaden research on international criminal justice away
from more standard analyses of its efficacy or history, will appreci-
ate this study as part of a growing body of work on the politics
behind the creation and implementation of new legal institutions.
In Crime’s Archive: The Cultural Afterlife of Evidence.By
Katherine Biber. London: Routledge, 2018.
Michelle Brown, Department of Sociology, University of Tennessee
“Evidence,” law professor Katherine Biber writes, “is law’s episte-
mology; it establishes what the law knows….” (3). When Biber is
writing about it, evidence also tells us something about how law
knows, as it is both “object and a process”, “noun and a verb”,
“testimony, documentary or material”, “circumstantial, provi-
sional, rebuttable…”, “voluminous and complex”, public, forensic,
digital, ephemeral. Police photographs, for instance, present, like
law, as neutral, but are “always tethered to a witness,” foundation-
ally “elusive and unstable” (15). A rule-bound system of material
presented for deliberation in which various strategies take shape,
“Evidence can be given or taken. It can be tendered, admitted,
and withdrawn…tampered with, concealed or destroyed (4).
Biber’s work attempts to upset this legal universe of truth-making
materials long enough for us to see not just how law is made but
how and why it is preserved after its key performance in court.
She does this through close attention to something rarely thought
about: a fascinating take on what happens to criminal evidence
after the trial.
Biber’s work has laid the foundations for emergent areas of
visual criminology and cultural studies in relationship to the law
(Biber 2007; Brown and Carrabine 2017; Rafter 2014). In this
current project, she acts in many ways as a trusted curator, guid-
ing us through a set of exhibitions in which she asks us to stop in
Book Reviews 631

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT