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The Criminal Humanities

An Introduction


Edited By Mike Arntfield and Marcel Danesi

This groundbreaking anthology examines the phenomenon of crime and our historical understanding – and misunderstanding – of the criminal mind through the lens of the humanities, unpacking foundational concepts in criminology and criminal investigative analysis through disciplines such as the visual arts, cultural studies, religious studies, and comparative literature. Edited by two key figures in this burgeoning field who are also pre-eminent experts in both forensic semiotics and literary criminology, this book breathes new life into the humanities disciplines by using them as a collective locus for the study of everything from serial homicide, sexual disorders, and police recruiting and corruption to the epistemology of criminal insanity. Using a multidisciplinary framework that traverses myriad pedagogies and invokes a number of methodologies, this anthology boasts chapters written by some of the world’s key scholars working at the crossroads of crime, media, and culture as broadly defined.
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About the author(s)/editor(s)


Michael Arntfield is Associate Professor of Literary Criminology and Forensic Writing in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University, as well as a previous Fulbright Chair specializing in law and literature at Vanderbilt University. He is also a former police officer and is the founder and director of the Western University Cold Case Society. His Ph.D. (also from Western) was conferred while he was still a serving police detective and focused on police murders in Canada and the United States.

Marcel Danesi is Full Professor of Anthropology and Forensic Semiotics at the University of Toronto and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the founder and director of the Centre for Research in Forensic Semiotics and a recognized international authority on semiotics, language, and ritual within criminal organizations, specifically the Sicilian Mafia.

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