Fingerprints, Racism, and Sherlock Holmes

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Fears of mistaken identity and unconscious slips were crystallized in the literature of detection but emerged from a broad range of hermeneutic practices across the era, at a time in which those in power considered the borders of empire and boundaries of racial identity to be insecure.

The Public Domain Review looks at the early history of fingerprinting, which was tainted by racism, and the rise of the detective novel.


P.E. Garcia is an Editor-at-Large for the Rumpus and a contributor to HTMLGiant. They currently live in Philadelphia, where they were recently accidentally elected to be Judge of Elections. Find them on Twitter: @AvantGarcia. More from this author →