True Crime and The Justice of God: Ethics, Media, and Forensic Science
By: Elisabeth T. Vasko and Lyndsie Ferrara
“Why do so many white women love true crime television shows? Vasko and Ferrara use this intriguing question to open up a world of pressing ethical and political concerns, from the backlog of rape test kits to white guilt, from ‘super-predators’ to ‘himpathy.’ Modeling how to center the perspectives of survivors and the most marginalized, the authors call Christians to move from titillation to justice work.” —Vincent Lloyd, co-editor, Anti-Blackness and Christian Ethics
“In a keen intersectional analysis of the theological ethics and scientific forensics of true crime, the authors challenge positionalities of whiteness that fetishize Blackness and criminality. Their ability to use their location within whiteness to talk primarily to white people about the sins of anti-Blackness is a radical form of allyship that advances efforts to change the narrative of criminality.”—Rev. Nikia Robert, PhD, founder and executive director, Abolitionist Sanctuary
“Maximizing a creative interdisciplinary approach, the authors uncover how white, Christian influences combine with a faulty depiction of forensic science to deform the moral imagination of True Crime consumers. This book raises the level of the reader’s media literacy, forensic science knowledge, and liberative theological understandings to encourage concrete moral responses to the very real problem of racism in the U.S. criminal legal system.”—Kate Ott, author, Christian Ethics for a Digital Society
Utilizing the tools of forensic science and Christian theological ethics, this book resituates prominent criminal cases within their social and forensic contexts. Particular attention is given to the ways in which patterns of systemic ignorance and social inequity sustain anti-blackness and violence against women in society at large and in daily life.
Explores the Western phenomena of true crime and its impact on the Christian moral imagination. This project sits in direct conversation with the following three bodies of literature: 1) theological and moral engagement of criminal justice, 2) theological engagement of popular media, and 3) forensic science in the media.
Elisabeth T. Vasko is associate professor of theology at Duquesne University and author of Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders. Her work focuses on theological justifications for violence and discrimination and the role that Christian theology and faith communities can play in enacting social change.
Lyndsie Ferrara is a teaching assistant professor of forensic science and law at Duquesne University. She was previously a biologist at the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory and a forensics specialist/contractor for the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program.