Imprint of the Raj: The Colonial Origin of Fingerprinting and Its Voyage to Britain

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9780330491402: Imprint of the Raj: The Colonial Origin of Fingerprinting and Its Voyage to Britain

A fascinating account of the invention of fingerprinting in colonial India and the story of how the technique was exported back to Victorian England. Opening with the first case in a British criminal court to use the radical new technique of fingerprinting to identify the perpetrators of crime in 1902 this riveting book takes us back to the origins of fingerprinting in India. Despite many books on the subject of fingerprints in general, none have looked closely at the fact that this standard tool of forensic science was born in India during the Raj. As the author points out, with the exception of curry there is not one other instance of something so fundamental to British life being imported fully-formed from the Empire and then being tailored to fit conditions at home. Based on original and hitherto unpublished research imprint of the Raj gives a unique insight into our colonial past and offers a vivid account of this extraordinary and largely ignored story.

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Review:

... a heady mix of nostalgia, history, science and, above all, a compelling read ... -- India Today, April 28, 2003

...gives a lively and unique description of our colonial heritage and recounts a largely unknown story. -- Geographical Magazine, May 2003

A truly fascinating account... The pages present much technical information but cleverly weave this into an accessible narrative. -- History Today, April 2003

An absorbing tale of scientific criminology... Deliciously understated, yet precise and powerful... -- Guardian, March 1, 2003

Sengoopta's strength is in following not only the twists in the system's development but also the setbacks and alternative proposals. -- TLS (Times Literary Supplement), 23 May 2003

About the Author:

Chandak Sengoopta is the Wellcome Research Lecturer at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. Originally from Calcutta, where he trained to be a doctor, he subsequently studied the history of science, medicine and technology in the USA and in London. His first academic book, Otto Weininger: Sex, Science, and Self in Imperial Vienna was published by the, University of Chicago Press in 2000. Imprint of the Raj is his first book for the general reader.

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Sengoopta, Chandak
Published by Pan Books, London (2004)
ISBN 10: 0330491407 ISBN 13: 9780330491402
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Book Description Pan Books, London, 2004. 1st p/b ed. Paperback trade, very good condition, figures, few small creases front cover, remainder stripe. 234 pp. Examines the history of fingerprinting, its little-known origins in colonial India, and its impact in Britain once introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. Bookseller Inventory # 22442

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