[UPDATE] Crime Across Cultures: An Interdisciplinary Conference

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University of Leeds, UK

Keynote Speakers: Dr David Platten (University of Leeds) and Dr Stephen Morton (University of Southampton). Reading by Courttia Newland

In his essay, 'Decline of the English Murder', George Orwell claims that the 'old domestic poisoning dramas' of pre-war England were 'products of a stable society', made to be consumed within middle-class sitting rooms on a Sunday afternoon. This conference seeks to examine how discourses of crime and criminality are produced in a global context that extends well beyond the cloisters of Orwell's English middle class. Such discourses are generated across the disciplinary spectrum – legal studies, the visual arts, the humanities, the social sciences, geography, environmental studies and even the hard sciences – suggesting that, in an age of terrorism, cyber scams, corporate corruption, drug wars, cross-cultural conflict and engineered ecological and biological threats, crime is itself becoming increasingly fractured and difficult to define.
We intend to investigate how representations of crime not only reflect upon but actively engage in processes of cross-cultural exchange. We ask how writers and cultural practitioners from around the world have appropriated and reconfigured the form and aesthetics of crime fiction, often moving beyond the detective novel in order to experiment with a variety of media including short fiction, poetry, film, photography, music, graphic novels and pulp magazines. The conference also opens a space for debates regarding the ethics of representing crime. To what extent do representations of crime exacerbate crises and 'moral panics' surrounding cross-cultural encounter in the twenty-first century? How do pivotal events of the twenty-first century – for example, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the war on terror – challenge and redefine conceptions of criminality? Has the language of crime itself altered or expanded in response to new forms of cross-cultural, transnational, or global crisis? We welcome papers from any discipline, exploring topics which may include but are not limited to the following:

• 'Golden Age' crime fiction
• Noir
• Crime and community
• The outlaw or public enemy
• Nationalist discourses of crime
• The cosmopolitan detective
• Spaces of crime
• Generic transgressions and crossings
• The popular as a site of cross-cultural encounter
• Visual representations of crime
• Crime in motion: travel, immigration, asylum, tourism
• Terrorism, disaster and crisis
• Crime in the media
• Legal perspectives on crime

Please send abstracts of 300 words to the conference organisers, Mandala White, Lucy Evans and Isabelle de le Court (University of Leeds), at crimeacrosscultures@googlemail.com, along with a brief biographical statement (100 words). Panel proposals are also welcome. Abstracts are due by Friday 28th May 2010. Conference papers will be considered for an edited collection. Further details can be found on our website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/english/crimeacrosscultures.htm.