Detecting Genius: The Adaptation of Sherlock Holmes

full name / name of organization: 
Natasha Alvandi Hunt / Popular Culture Association Annual National Conference, San Antonio, Texas
contact email: 


The Adaptation Section of the 2011 National Popular Culture & American Culture Associations Conference

Wednesday, April 20, through Saturday, April 23
Marriot Rivercenter San Antonio, and Marriot-San Antonio Riverwalk

Proposal deadline‚ÄĒNovember 30, 2010

Detecting Genius: The Adaptation of Sherlock Holmes

This panel seeks to tease out how Arthur Conan Doyle's characters have been adapted in recent years, and specifically how notions of intelligence and detection are conveyed on screen. Arguably, everything from the new BBC television show Sherlock to the television show House, M.D. are adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's characters and stories. I am seeking proposals that specifically engage with the effectiveness of these and other adaptations. Some questions to consider: How is technology used to convey intelligence? Is a serial production such as Sherlock or House more effective than a movie such as Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (2009)? What, if anything, is lost or gained when these late-Victorian characters are transported to our contemporary era? What nuances of the Holmes and Watson characters are expressed or suppressed? How does the narrator function in these adaptations? Is the audience allowed to follow Holmes's thought process? If so, how, and is this process different than in the original stories? Additionally, papers on literature to literature adaptations of Sherlock Holmes also will be considered.

Proposals may include:

* General questions relating to how intelligence/genius is conveyed to an audience
* Race in Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Class in Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Gender in Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Sexuality in Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Disability in Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Issues relating to nostalgia (perhaps for older styles of detection, solving the "crime" without technology, for example)
* How CSI or other procedural shows could be read Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Reading bodies in Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Reading a crime scene
* The process and complications of "hiring" of a detective in Sherlock Holmes adaptations
* Other aspects relating to the adaptation of Victorian literature for our modern audiences with Sherlock Holmes as an example.

Please send titled abstracts of 200-400 words to Natasha Alvandi Hunt ( by November 30.