Arnaldur Indridason, Kleifarvatn (The Draining Lake), 2004
Noir in the North
16-17 November 2016
University of Iceland
The Killing, Wallander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Miss Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Nordic Noir has been a dominant part of global detective fiction, film and television in the past two decades. But what are the parameters of this genre, both historically and geographically? What is noirish and what is northern about Nordic Noir? This conference invites proposals which either investigate the specifics of noir in a particular text or which interrogate more broadly the notion of Nordic Noir.
Can Nordic Noir be used to identify, for example, some aspects of the work of other Nordic authors, such as Halldór Laxness, Isak Dinesen or Vilhem Moberg? What is the relationship between earlier Scandinavian crime fiction, such as that by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, and Nordic Noir? How does work like the Shetland novels by Ann Cleeves fit within the parameters of Nordic Noir? What part has translation played in the history and global circulation of Nordic Noir?
More broadly, the conference will address the following questions: How does Nordic Noir challenge the traditional critical histories of noir? What new genealogies of noir can complicate the Anglo-American dominance of noir? Are there geographical limitations to noir and how does it function transnationally? Where does the north begin for noir? What are the peripheral boundaries in the East and West? Does noir complicate traditional literary histories modeled on geographical boundaries? What specific images of the north are associated with Nordic Noir? How do sex and gender operate in Nordic Noir? What is Nordic noir’s relationship with particular national pasts, identities, or collective and cultural memory? What connections are there be, for example, between Nordic Noir and Continental existentialism, European Romanticisms, or fin-de-siècle literatures?
This major international conference will consolidate work to date on Nordic Noir and seek to deepen our understanding of the genre, both in relation to traditional histories, but also in drawing on new theoretical and geographical understandings.
The Crime Studies Network, in collaboration with the Centre for Studies in Memory and Literature at the University of Iceland and with the University of Newcastle, will host Noir in the North in Reykjavik in November 2016. This conference is held in conjunction with the Iceland Noir Crime Fiction Festival (17-19 November).
Individual proposals for 20-minute papers/3 x 20 minute paper panels are invited. We welcome proposals on novels, films, television series, graphic novels and other forms. Send a short title, a 250-word proposal, and a 100-word biographical note to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 December 2015. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by 15 January 2016.
Bruce Robbins (Columbia University)
Mary Evans (London School of Economics)
Stacy Gillis (University of Newcastle)
Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir (University of Iceland)