Global Histories of Crime Fiction: Redefining a Popular Genre – seminar of the ACLA 2022 Meeting (CFP)

CFP: Global Histories of Crime Fiction: Redefining a Popular Genre 

American Comparative Literature Association 2022 Annual Meeting, 15-18 June 

National Taiwan Normal University 

Seminar organisers: Jesper Gulddal (University of Newcastle, Australia) and Stewart King (Monash University)

Crime fiction today is a uniquely global genre in the sense of being written, published, sold and read on a significant scale on all continents and in almost every country. It is also global in the sense that it serves across a wide range of locations as an important vehicle for investigating and interrogating relationships between law, crime and justice. This global orientation challenges the persistent notion that crime fiction is predominantly a UK and US phenomenon and that other crime fiction traditions are either peripheral or derivative. Publishers have already embraced the idea of world crime fiction, as evidenced by the large number of crime fiction translations, not only with English as the source or target language, but also between other languages. Similarly, readers around the world have few concerns about reading foreign crime novels, and the combination of familiar forms and unfamiliar, “exotic” content has become one of the major selling points of global crime writing. The scholarly literature has been slow in catching up with these developments, but the last few years have seen lively debate around the concept of crime fiction as world literature. Following on from these discussions, this seminar seeks to overcome one of the last bastions of conventional crime fiction scholarship, namely the tendency to write the history of crime fiction either as the succession of canonical Anglophone formats (classic, hardboiled, etc.) or as accounts of individual national traditions. We pose the question, how can we globalise the historical narratives around crime fiction and move towards an account of the genre that recognises its global diversity and transnational connections.

We welcome papers dealing with any aspects of world crime fiction and the historiographical challenges it presents. Suggested focal points include:

  • The historiographical challenges presented by world crime fiction 
  • Autochthonous crime fiction traditions in China, Japan, India, the Arab world and elsewhere
  • Appropriations and localisations of canonical English-language formats around the world 
  • Translation as a means of localising crime fiction
  • Lateral circulations of crime fiction that bypass the Anglosphere (such as between China, Japan and Korea, in the Mediterranean, and within the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War) 
  • Comparative perspectives on world crime fiction 
  • Formal innovation and hybridisation at the “periphery”
  • Indigenous and First Nations crime fiction 
  • Reinterpreting British and American crime fiction from a transnational perspective
  • Digital and data-driven approaches to world crime fiction 

Enquires: jesper.gulddal@newcastle.edu.au or stewart.king@monash.edu 

Conference website: https://www.acla.org/annual-meeting-2022 

Submit a paper proposal here: https://www.acla.org/node/add/paper 

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