The rise of photography during the mid-to-late-nineteenth century was contemporaneous with the emergence of the new science of criminology. However, criminologists have paid scant attention to this phenomenon. I answer two questions in my doctoral dissertation. First, why has photography been ignored in criminological histories? Second, did photography play an illustrative and thus merely pedagogical role in nineteenth-century criminology; or was it epistemologically informed by discourses outside the discipline? I answer these questions with reference to nineteenth-century arrest and prison portraiture. Engaging with histories of art and science, I show how this portraiture was informed by specific pictorial conventions and nineteenth-century visual culture more generally.

My doctoral research is supervised by Professor Mary Bosworth and Professor Eamonn Carrabine and is funded by the +3 part of a 1+3 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentship, an Individual Grant awarded by the Scottish International Education Trust for research contributing to the cultural, social or economic wellbeing of Scotland, and Green Templeton College.

I have an LL.B (First Class) from the University of Edinburgh and an M.Sc (Distinction) from Hertford College, University of Oxford (Routledge Criminology Prize for best degree performance and Hertford College Graduate Prize).

I am Sessional Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Reading.

I was Research Assistant for Ben Bradford, Beartrice Jauregui, Ian Loader and Jonny Steinberg on their forthcoming publication The SAGE Handbook of Global Policing (2016) and Editorial Assistant for Theoretical Criminology.

My broader research interests are in the epistemology of the image in law, criminal justice and punishment. ­


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  • K West, 'Identifying the criminal' in Michelle Brown and Eamonn Carrabine (eds), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture (Oxford University Press 2017) (forthcoming)
  • K West, 'Visual criminology and Cesare Lombroso: In memory of Nicole Rafter (1939-2016)' (2016) Theoretical Criminology (forthcoming)
  • K West, 'Review: Marit Paasche and Judy Radul (eds.), A Thousand Eyes: Media Technology, Law and Aesthetics (2011)' (2011) 18 Theoretical Criminology 248 [Review]


Research Interests

criminology and the image, law and the image

Research projects