Alphonse Bertillon and the troubling pursuit of human metrics | Curio

Alphonse Bertillon and the troubling pursuit of human metrics

14 mins | May 20, 2021

"The pursuit of human metrics has a rich and fascinating history." To measure was to apprehend and be made accountable, and nowhere was this more resonant than in the identification and classification of criminals. Jessica Helfand explores how, in the 19th century, Alphonse Bertillon’s problematic index cards allowed for detailed measurements of the bodies and faces of criminals to be logged and filed for easy retrieval by police precincts, which in part remains a critical function in law enforcement today.

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