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This site is maintained by Daniel Asen, a historian of modern China whose research explores the intersection of law, science, and medicine. Dr. Asen’s recently published book, Death in Beijing: Murder and Forensic Science in Republican China (Cambridge University Press, 2016), examines the history of homicide investigation and forensic science in early 20th-century Beijing.


Dr. Asen is currently researching the history of fingerprinting in modern China, focusing on the ways in which fingerprinting has developed as both a tool of criminal investigation and an object of scientific research in the fields of anthropology, human genetics, and dermatoglyphics. Dr. Asen is very interested in exploring connections between this history and present-day developments in latent fingerprint identification and forensic science in the United States and globally.