chapter  3
The epidermal examination
Pages 27

The trial of Mundarra Smith shows how the law, whilst it has also treated ‘race’ as some heritable quality of blood and belonging, in matters of identification evidence, regards ‘race’ as a visual genre. Upon inspection of the body, a person can be plotted into a colour chart, slotted into a classification that produces legal categories from socio-scientific theories. Repeatedly, the criminal courts admit – and repeat – claims that race requires difference, and the differences can be adduced by looking. This chapter shows how legal discourses of ‘race’ rest upon close corporeal scrutiny.