Programming Note: Darts and Letters is off and retooling to relaunch in a new format early 2024.

EP16.1: Mesmerizing Convolutions: The Rise of Fingerprint Identification

In this bonus episode, Gordon Katic speaks with Simon A. Cole, a professor of Criminology, Law and Society at University of California Irvine. He’s the author of “Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification”. We do a deep dive into the social and political story of fingerprinting, and how it took more than a century before anyone tried to figure out if it actually worked.


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Darts and Letters’ is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn, our assistant producer is Polly Leger, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. Our lead research assistant was Roland Nadler and we had academic advising from Professor Emma Cunliffe, each from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. We had further research support from David Moscrop. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which is funding our mini-series on the state of forensic science. The scholarly lead on that project is Professor Emma Cunliffe.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

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