Detective Fiction, Professionalism, and the Modern Bureaucratic State (Modernist Studies Association, Buffalo, Oct. 6-9, 2011)
This panel explores the simultaneous emergence of the crime writing genre, the modern bureaucratic state, and professional society. Does the amateur private eye in British or American detective fiction represent an effort to subvert the professional police force and offer a corrective to the corruption within the modern bureaucratic state? Or is the private eye (and by extension the genre) ultimately conservative in maintaining the status quo, following a professional code amidst romantic temptations, and perpetuating the "evident failure of the unfettered free market to deliver a just society" (McCann, 2000, 6)? More broadly, what does detective fiction tell us about forms of resistance to the rise of professional society during the modernist period? How do innovations by authors such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and others alter the crime genre and contribute to our understanding of modernism and modernity? Prospective papers are encouraged to address the issue from a range of perspectives including interdisciplinary, cultural history, race, class, and gender.
Send a 300-400 word abstract and a bio of a 2-3 sentences to Daniel Harney at email@example.com by April 7, 2011.