Symposium : Towards a Digital Atlas of European Crime Fiction? (British Library Conference Centre, April 10, 2015)

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In the last decades the astonishing speed in the global circulation of cultural works and the unprecedented opportunities to gather and analyse large amount of data through electronic resources have opened up new possibilities for researchers in all disciplines. At the same time, the spatial turn in the Humanities has prompted scholars to consider the benefits of using maps and graphs to investigate the transnational history of cultural phenomena. However, while scholars working on quite traditional literary subjects have been quick to discuss and carry out the provocative claims made by Franco Moretti in The Atlas of the European Novel (1998), an ideal case study for such an approach, i.e. popular fiction, had been largely neglected.

The AHRC-funded project Visualising European Crime Fiction: New Digital Tools and Approaches to the Study of the Transnational Popular Culture has represented a first attempt to adopt this approach in the field of crime fiction studies, starting to collect data from different sources and exploring the uses of an online database and various visualisation tools. This exploratory project in partnership with the Paris-based BILIPO aimed at testing a number of strategies and possibilities in order to envision a larger, longer-term initiative to conduct extensive studies on the transnational circulation of popular fiction at the European level.  Researchers from a group of universities in the UK, France, Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic have collaborated to create sample datasets, the prototype database and a series of visualisations.

At the symposium to be held at the British Library on April 10, 2015 the scholars involved in the project will present the work carried out so far and will talk about future perspectives, reflecting on how they might address their research questions, take advantage of the most useful technological resources as well as disseminate their results in innovative ways. The strengths and the weakness of quantitative and digital approaches, the ideas to take this challenge to a new level, and the potential of new partnerships will be discussed with a group of other scholars invited to present their own experience in the study of crime fiction.


Programme of the day

10:00-10:20 Coffee and registration

10:20-10:30 Welcome and Introduction: Dominique Jeannerod & Federico Pagello

10:30-12:00 Papers from the project members:

Dominique Jeannerod (Queen’s University Belfast) – “European Crime Fiction : A Big Data Story”

Federico Pagello (Queen’s University Belfast) – “Metadata, Cover Art & Data Viz: Creating an Online Archive of European Crime Fiction”

Loic Artiaga (University of Limoges) – “”Scale of Crime. Working on Crime Fiction with Small, Medium and Big Data”

12:00-12:15 Coffee Break

12:15-13:30 Papers from the project members:

Natacha Levet (University of Limoges) – “International Crime Fiction in France: From ‘La Série Noire’ to ‘Actes Noir'”

Sandor Kalai (University of Debrecen) – “The Hungarian Translation of Crime Fiction Novels under Socialism: Analysis of Two Specialised Series”

Andrew Pepper (Queen’s University Belfast) – “Quantifying the Internationalization of Crime Fiction: Les Crimes De L’Annee (1989-2004) and the Significance of Place”

13:30-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-15:30 Lightning Talks: Studying European Crime Fiction, Sources and Methods

Dr. Ellen Carter (University of Paris 1) – “Killing by numbers: quantitative methods in crime fiction research”

Andrea Hynynen (University of Turku) – “Gender studies and crime fiction – pros and cons of quantitative methods”

Dr. Katharina Hall (Swansea University) – “Research, Dissemination, Impact: German Crime Fiction and the ‘Mrs. Peabody Investigates’ Blog”

Samuel Schwiegelhofer (Bibliothèque des Littératures Policières) – “All the World of Crime Fiction’s Memory: the Catalogue of the BILIPO”

Dr. Marcela Poučová (Masaryk University) –  book-covers and the legitimation of  the detective genre in Czechoslovakia (1960-1980) – the example of  the Smaragd Series

15:30-16:00 Coffee break

16:00-17:00 “Crime Fiction: Archive Fever”, Keynote addres by Ian Sansom (Author of the Mobile Library Mystery Series; Professor in English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick)

17:00-17:30 Roundtable: Towards a Digital Atlas of European Crime Fiction? (Chair: Prof. Jacques Migozzi, University of Limoges)



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