CfP: Detection across Borders: Mobility, Liminality and Transgression in Contemporary Crime Narratives Tiina Mäntymäki, Maarit Piipponen, Eric Sandberg, eds.
The editors would like to invite proposals for chapters that deal with the theme of mobility in contemporary crime narratives in relation to any of the four main perspectives outlined below (history, border, self, and affect). Please submit a five to six hundred word proposal indicating your topic and approach, and briefly outlining the argument that you will develop, by 1 August 2017 to (cc) email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. As the scope of the volume is international, we welcome proposals addressing both Anglophone and non-Anglophone crime narratives.
Mobility, transgression, and boundary-crossings characterise the crime narrative on a fundamental level. The initiatory crime––be it a murder, a kidnapping, or any other breach of ethical and legal norms––disturbs a settled order and, like a rock thrown into still waters, sets events in motion. However, mobility takes many other forms in crime narratives. In Golden Age detective stories such as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot or Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels, mobility is manifested in various transportation technologies (travelling by car, train, aeroplane); in movements across various boundaries (from indoors to outdoors, from the city to the countryside, from England to the Orient); in entering closed or otherwise restricted spaces such as manors or archaeological sites, or even the proverbial locked room; and in mass communication technologies like telephones and telegrams which link distant physical spaces. In American hardboiled, the borders between the criminal world, big business, and government are shown to be permeable, as the physical movements of a private eye like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe through the modern metropolis reveal the illicit commerce between the gang and the government.
In contemporary crime narratives, however, crime and mobility acquire even more complex dimensions. In the TV detective series The Bridge (Bron/Broen, 2011), crime is graphically embodied as a transnational phenomenon which exceeds by definition the borders that demarcate elements of the social, cultural and political world. In terms of production and consumption, too, this ‘Nordic Noir’ series demonstrates the international mobility of the crime genre. It thus serves as an excellent example of the movement of popular culture texts across national, cultural and linguistic boundaries. Contemporary crime narratives such as Bron/Broen are marked by global social, political, cultural, and economic transformations––especially the impact of multinational, neoliberal capitalism, global consumer culture, network systems, and digitalisation, as well as the acceleration of human mobility across borders. In contemporary crime stories, crime is no longer a locally, spatially and temporally limited event that only concerns the victims, the detective agency and the criminal. Instead, it is conceptualised as networked, embedded in a spatio-temporal, historical, global and transcultural context, and of the utmost collective concern to multiple societies. Contemporary crime narrative is concerned with offering social critique across time and space, engaging and directing the affects and emotions of global audiences, and rendering mobile seemingly fixed cultural norms through new generic strategies.
Detection across Borders will demonstrate how the complexity of contemporary societies, the visibility of contemporary conflicts, and the way both respond to far-reaching transnational developments have changed the ways in which social analysis emerges in stories of crime in the contemporary era. Its individual chapters will explore patterns of mobility in contemporary crime narratives. While mobility as a theory has multiple, shifting and at times ambiguous meanings across several academic disciplines, and is an inherently multidisciplinary term, this volume will see mobility in both literal and abstract senses, referring to the physical transportation, traffic, and flow of people and goods, but also to the movement of ideas, texts, images, affects, and ideologies.
1. Landscapes of the past
Because of the centrality of time and space, crime narratives can function as a vehicle for (re-)examining the relationship between the past, present and future: for remembering the past, questioning established truths about history, or projecting contemporary concerns through narratives set in the future. Possible areas of interest include:
2. Border stories
In this volume, borders are approached not only through national, cultural and linguistic perspectives but also through generic conventions. Crime narratives fundamentally and generically deal with transgression, but the definition of crime and justice is slippery to agree upon in a world of changing allegiances, conflicting value systems, and eroding (locally) shared values. Possible areas of interest include:
3. Mobile selves
Mobility, mobility practices, and mobile technologies have come to define human life in the postindustrial age. This section approaches mobility both in terms of human mobility and mobile technologies. Possible areas of interest include:
4. Being affected
The ‘affective turn’ in popular crime stories is related to the introduction of social realism, and thus a discourse on, and aesthetics of, violence to the genre. This section examines how affect and emotion are mobilised through themes, narrative conventions, and other means in contemporary crime narratives. Possible areas of interest include:
Dr. Fiona Peters is Reader in Crime Fiction at Bath Spa University in the UK. She is a Patricia Highsmith scholar and is director of the Captivating Criminality project.