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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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This anthology and the yawning chasm it fills with respect to the practical and applied study of crime—and at the same time the need for the humanities to undergo something of a makeover—did not come about by accident. The scholars assembled here represent a guild of globally recognized experts who, both individually and collectively, have been loosely joined at the forefront of a truly interdisciplinary approach to the scholarship of crime for some time now. They have done so by not only creating but also mobilizing knowledge through the lens of the humanities as the oldest and perhaps the most intuitive of academic traditions. They also all happen to share a common pedagogical tradition grounded in credible, consistent, and publicly responsible research—one that enmeshes the forensic and empirical with the comparative and philosophical. As this anthology will aptly demonstrate through a series of incisive and remarkable essays reflecting original research, these domains should not—and were never supposed to have been—mutually exclusive.

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