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P365


Forensic sounds: speaker identification, sound detection and cultures of sonic evidence 
Convenor:
Anna Kvicalova (Charles University)
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Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

The panel examines the role of sonic skills in producing forensic evidence and investigates the specificity of sound-based objectivity and forms of representation in forensics. It addresses the scientific, cultural, and political underpinning of forensic audio expertise in varied historical contexts

Long Abstract:

The notion of the human voice as a unique biometric identifier and the rise of technologies for recording and graphically representing sound has made sound analysis an integral part of forensic science in the twentieth century. Although recording, classifying, and dissecting sounds of speech and other events have long been integral to criminalistics, forensic objectivity has been primarily associated with technologies of visual representation such as photography. This panel, in contrast, will examine the role of sonic skills in gathering, interpreting, and producing different kinds of forensic evidence and investigate the specificity of sound-based objectivity in forensics.

Forensic objectivity is best be understood as an assemblage of criminal procedures, witness testimonies, and the means of representing and constructing evidence. This is created and maintained not only in forensic science laboratories and in the courtroom, but in dialogue with the much broader cultural and political environment. Bringing together the notions of “forensic cultures” and “sonic skills”, the panel will address the scientific, cultural, and political underpinning of forensic audio expertise across different legal systems and historical periods as well as the changing status of sound-based knowledge and forms of representation in forensics. What must be done with sonic traces to translate them into different kinds of legal and criminalistic evidence? Which forms of speaker identification and sound detection have been accepted as admissible evidence in criminal courts and other forensic contexts? What is the role of machine listening and AI in acoustic intelligence and surveillance? The panel welcomes papers that address these or related issues in different cultural, historical, and legal contexts.

Accepted papers: