Forensics, DNA Testing and the Disappeared in Latin America, Harvard University

April 26, 2023

Speakers: Vivette García Deister, Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Eden Medina, Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Moderated by: Gabriela Soto Laveaga, Professor of the History of Science and Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico

In recent years technologies such as DNA analysis have become an essential tool in the search for the disappeared throughout Latin America. Groups of forensic anthropologists, crime scene investigators, and mothers of the disappeared rely equally on the power of forensic methods to identify the missing. As the number of disappeared in Mexico alone surpasses 100,000 in the last decade, belief in the power of science to identify found bodies has augmented. Yet, what happens when the promise of science is challenged, or science fails? In this talk two science and technology scholars explain how the use of DNA to locate bodies in Mexico and Chile faces both new opportunities and challenges.