Victor Toom

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter


Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Institut für Soziologie
Grüneburgplatz 1 / Gebäude PEG

60323 Frankfurt am Main

Raum: 3G 042
Tel: +49/69/798-36534



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I’ve been interested in forensic science from a “Science and Technology Studies” perspective. More specifically, I analyze forensic practices’ “material semiotics” and their enacted realities. My current social science research entitled “Accounting for genocide” documents the technoscientific and legal, or technolegal, aftermath of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. It is hence that I’m interested in the forensic identification of Srebrenica genocide victims, the trials against those held legally responsible (e.g Karadzic, Mladic) at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the involvement of victims’ families in practices of identification and litigation. Before I started this 2-year project, I researched the disaster victim identification operation in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I have received funding from the European Union’s Research Executive Agency (2016-2017), the British Leverhulme Trust (2012-2015), and Nuffield Foundation (2011). Prior to my position at Goethe University, I was a member of the Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2010-2015), a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam (2004-2010), and I held junior researcher positions at the Universities of Amsterdam (2003-2004) and Twente (2002-2003). I was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University (2012-2015) and the National University of Singapore (2011). In years past, I’ve lectured on a range of topics related to the ethical, legal and social implications of forensic science in general, and forensic DNA typing in particular. I’ve also commented on several issues relating to forensic science used in criminal investigations and disaster victim identification operations on Dutch national TV and radio as well as in newspapers. In 2010, I received a PhD in the Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam; and I hold an M.A. in Science and Technology Studies (University of Amsterdam, 2000).

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Research Experience and previous employments

Jan 2016 – Jan 2019: Marie Curie Research Fellow, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Germany


Oct 2010 – Dec 2015: Research Associate, Northumbria University, Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science (NUCFS), Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom


March 2004 – Sep 2010: PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam, Department of Political Science, Amsterdam, Netherlands


May 2003 – Febr 2004: Junior Researcher, University of Amsterdam, Department of Political Science, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Jan 2002 – Apr 2003: Junior Researcher, Universiteit Twente, Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), Enschede, Netherlands


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Journal Publications (selection)

Toom, V. 2018. “Finding Closure, Continuing Bonds, and Codentification After the 9/11 Attacks.” Medical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness 37(4):267–79.

Victor Toom. 2018. Cross-Border Exchange and Comparison of Forensic DNA Data in the Context of the Prüm Decision. Brussels: European Union. Retrieved (

Toom, Victor. 2018. “Digging for the Disappeared: Forensic Science After Atrocity by Adam Rosenblatt (Book Review).” Journal of Human Rights 17(1):142–45. Retrieved (

Toom, Victor. 2017. “Opinie: Bedenkingen Bij Grootschalig DNA-Onderzoek.” Nederlands Juristenblad (30):2171, see also

 Toom, Victor. 2016. “Whose Body Is It? Technolegal Materialization of Victims’ Bodies and Remains after the World Trade Center Terrorist Attacks.” Science, technology & human values 41(4):686–708. Retrieved (

Toom, Victor , Matthias Wienroth, Amade M’charek, Barbara Prainsack, Robin Williams, Troy Duster, Torsten Heinemann, Corinna Kruse, Helena Machado, Erin Murphy. 2016. “Approaching Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of Emerging Forensic DNA Phenotyping (FDP) Technologies Comprehensively: Reply to ‘Forensic DNA Phenotyping: Predicting Human Appearance from Crime Scene Material for Investigative Purposes’ by Manfred Kayser.” Forensic Science International: Genetics 22:e1–4.

Victor Toom, Matthias Wienroth, Amade M’charek, Barbara Prainsack, Robin Williams, Troy Duster, Torsten Heinemann, Corinna Kruse, Helena Machado, Erin Murphy: Approaching ethical, legal and social issues of emerging forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP) technologies comprehensively: Reply to ‘Forensic DNA phenotyping: Predicting human appearance from crime scene material for investigative purposes’ by Manfred Kayser. Forensic Science International: Genetics 2016 (online first).

Victor Toom: Whose body is it? Technolegal materialization of victims’ bodies and remains after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. Science, Technology & Human Values 2015 (online first).

Victor Toom: Trumping Communitarianism: Crime Control and Forensic DNA Typing and Databasing in Singapore. East Asian Science Technology and Society an International Journal 2014; 8(3):273-296.

Erica Haimes, Victor Toom: Hidden in full sight: kinship, science and the law in the aftermath of the Srebrenica genocide. New Genetics and Society 2014 no. 33 (3):277-294.

Barbara Prainsack, Victor Toom: Performing the Union: The Prüm Decision and the European dream. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 2013; 44(1).

Victor Toom: Bodies of Science and Law: Forensic DNA Profiling, Biological Bodies, and Biopower. Journal of Law and Society 08/2012; 39(1):150-66.

Victor Toom: Forensic DNA databases in England and the Netherlands: Governance, structure and performance compared. New Genetics and Society 2012; 31(3):311-322.

Martin Evison, Eleanor Graham, Erica Haimes, Jackie Leach-Scully, Anika Ludwig, Chris Maguire, Victor Toom, Robin Williams: A comment on the Hill-Turney exchange: From normative antagonism to interdisciplinary collaboration. New Genetics and Society 04/2012; 31(4):385-390. DOI:10.1080/14636778.2012.679395

Amade M'charek, Victor Toom, Barbara Prainsack: Bracketing Off Population Does Not Advance Ethical Reflection on EVCs: A Reply to Kayser and Schneider. Forensic Science International: Genetics 04/2012; 6(1):e16-7; author reply e18-9. DOI:10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.12.012

Barbara Prainsack, Victor Toom: The Prum Regime: Situated Dis/Empowerment in Transnational DNA Profile Exchange. British Journal of Criminology 10/2010; 50(6):1117-1135. DOI:10.1093/bjc/azq055


Victor Toom: Dragers van Waarheid. Twintig jaar forensisch DNA-onderzoek in Nederland [Carriers of truth. Twenty years of forensic DNA profiling in the Netherlands]. 07/2011; Kluwer Press.

Book Chapters

Victor Toom: Inquisitorial forensic DNA profiling in the Netherlands and the expansion of the forensic genetic body. Genetic Suspects. Global Governance of Forensic DNA Profiling and Databasing, Edited by Richard Hindmarsh, Barbara prainsack, 06/2010: chapter Inquisitorial forensic DNA profiling in the Netherlands and the expansion of the forensic genetic body: pages 175-196; Cambridge University Press.

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