We live in a world awash in identities and identity politics.  It is hardly surprising that we think art can enact, create, and modify individual and collective identities.  In this constellation we subject this idea to historical scrutiny and theoretical analysis.  We investigate the role of art in the formation and imagination of polities and communities, and how these cross-cut with notions of race, class, gender, religion, nationality, and ethnicity.



  • American Correctional Association, Proceedings of the Annual Congress of the National Prison Association of the United States (Shaw Brothers: Pittsburgh, 1900).


    Debriefing and Looking Forward!

    The Decomposing Bodies research team reconvened in the VMW yesterday, reinvigorated by their February 5th colloquium, and excited to discuss next steps for the project. Upon concluding their colloquium, "Producing Collaborative Work in the Humanities: The Case of Decomposing Bodies," various faculty members in attendance proposed interesting linkages to other areas of research. For example, to the fields of forensic medicine and forensic anthropology.

    R.W. McClaughry, pictured above, is credited with introducing the Bertillon system to the United States in 1887. At the time, he was the Warden of the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. He later became the Warden of the United States Penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. For more information about the Bertillon system, visit the National Law Enforcement Museum's webpage: Bertillon System of Criminal Idenitifcation.