Investigating the Detective Genre Across Cultures and Mediums (NEMLA 2021)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Scott C. Thompson


Investigating the Detective Genre Across Cultures and Mediums

In the age of multi-platform streaming services, online gaming, and mass-market novels, the detective genre continues to be one of the most popular and successful narrative forms. The genre has cultivated an impressive intellectual half-life from its modern origins in the nineteenth century due to its ability to adapt to the needs of new cultures and mediums. From quiet English villages, to interactive space odysseys, to collaborative reimagining of World War II, the socio-cultural-temporal settings change, but what remains is the genre’s ability to smuggle cultural critiques into and through its narrative.

At its best, the detective genre investigates both manifest and latent crimes. It uses the manifest plot as a vehicle for uncovering the social issues that reside just below the surface. The crimes that are often unaccounted for, are too large to be brought to trial in a meaningful way, or are illegible to the contemporary criminal justice system are held accountable, scaled down and given form, and made legible within the genre.     

This panel proposes to bring together a variety of scholarly voices with the shared goal of investigating the detective genre as it moves across various mediums, cultural contexts, and time periods in order to explore the genre’s ability to address and critique social, cultural, and political issues. The panel particularly encourages considerations of narratives with a global or non-Anglophone focus and welcomes a wide interpretation of media platforms, including but not limited to novels, short stories, film, television, and video games. Abstracts and presentations in English. 

Please send 200 word abstracts and CV to via the NEMLA website by September 30th, 2020. Submission webpage: 

NEMLA March 11-14, 2021. Philadelphia, PA. Local Host: University of Pennyslvania