UBC Theses and Dissertations
Tracing knowledge and the law : the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Collard, Juliane
In response to public concern over the prolonged serial killings of Vancouver’s Missing Women, in 2010 British Columbia’s provincial government called a public inquiry into the police investigation of Robert William Pickton, the convicted murderer of six women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Commissions of Inquiry advocates suggest that the quasi-legal framework makes it an ideal tool for exploring this case of juridico-political silence. As an inclusive and collaborative process, public inquiries create a space for hearing the voices that might be silenced in a formal trial. And yet, accounts of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI) suggest that it was a highly divisive and exclusionary process. This thesis explores the empirical details of the MWCI asking how modes of knowledge production are mobilized within the legal space it generates and with what effect. Drawing on inquiry transcripts, interviews with legal professionals and community organizers, and theoretical contributions from critical legal studies, performance studies, and archive theory, I query the epistemological and ontological exclusions that shaped the MWCI and their rootedness in naturalized legal codes and categories.
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