Call for Chapters: Underworld: Investigating Crime Films from Transnational Perspectives

deadline for submissions: 
September 3, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Sarah Delahousse, York College-CUNY

CALL FOR CHAPTERS: UNDERWORLD: INVESTIGATING CRIME FILMS FROM TRANSNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES We are seeking chapters for an edited volume tentatively titled Underworld: Investigating Crime Films from Transnational Perspectives. With its thrilling subject matter and commentary on the consequences of urban and industrial modernization, the crime film holds an abiding fascination for filmmakers and audiences. While the historical lineage of many crime films can be traced to the international popularity of American and British detective novels in the 19th and early 20th century, this book project aims to expand the field of research of crime films into a transnational study of the genre. For this collection, we seek studies that probe the historical provenance of crime films produced outside of the United States and inside or outside Europe, essays that probe the lesser-known connections between films in the crime genre internationally, and explorations of the untraced transnational genealogies of crime films originating from any national context.  The crime genre adapts and translates well into different cultural contexts. We thus welcome essays that look at the ways in which crime subject matter fosters cultural hybridity in film, especially studies that examine the ways that these films open the possibility for the reconfiguration of established genre cycles and national cinema conventions. Crime films often move beyond representing—even glorifying—the criminal anti-heroes/heroines in which they meaningfully examine and confront a country’s socio-political situation and beliefs. Overall, we seek essays that locate the historical origins of crime films within national cinemas and national popular culture traditions. This is a rich but relatively neglected area of study that we hope to advance with this collection. Examples of such topics might include the connections between development of low-budget Nollywood crime films on video and director Kunle Afolayan’s globally released historical suspense film October 1; or the influence of eighteenth-century stories of Tang Dynasty detective-statesmen Judge Dee on East Asian crime cinema.This collection will explore the different ways that the crime film contributes to the larger academic discourse on the cross-cultural exchange and circulation of this genre along with considering its marketability and appeal to international audiences. It also seeks to represent historical and contemporary contributions in addition to the socio-political implications of transnational crime films.  Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following: Crime and political engagement, including immigration, colonialism/post-colonialism and class struggle Films that use crime, suspense, and elements of detective narrative to depict controversial or unresolved social crises, such as war crimes, genocide, government malfeasance or corporate corruption Transcultural/cross-cultural elements and influences of film genres (gangster, film noir, detective, thriller, courtroom drama and spy) and/or other media The upending of genre conventions (characters, setting, themes) from American or other cultures’ crime films Use of space (urban, suburban or rural) in depicting crime, the criminal, the detective figure, and/or socio-political themes Film form specific to crime film: the technique and poetics of suspense on the screen The international marketing and reception of crime films  The deadline for abstracts (250-300 words) is September 3rd, 2019. Please send abstracts and a short bio as a single attachment to the editors, Sarah Delahousse: sdelahousse@york.cuny.edu and Aleksander Sedzielarz: sedzi002@umn.edu. Completed essays for those proposals will be due by May 26th, 2020.

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