Framing (Serial) Killing: Changing Narratives (online, 16-18 Nov 2022)

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
University of Warsaw, University of Szczecin, Warmia and Mazury University in Olsztyn, Poland

A lot has changed since Neil Gaiman’s character complained “I’m sick and tired of women in our line being stereo-typed as black widows or killer nurses” (The Sandman vol. 2), both in popular culture and crime studies.

Over the last three decades there have been a few turns in the (serial) killing narratives, including the decline of the celebrity-like status the perpetrators enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s, growing popularity of police professionals, more pronounced female characters, or victim-oriented discourse. Academics and authors studied the iconicity of the killers (David Schmid 2005), consumers of the serial killing ‘business’ (Brian Jarvis 2007), the language of serial murder narratives (Christina Gregoriou 2011), female serial killers (Marissa A. Harrison et al. 2015 and 2019), lives of the victims (Hallie Rubenhold 2019), case studies and profiling outside of the Western culture (S. A. Deepak 2021), or fictionalised representations of real-life serial killers (Brigid Cherry 2022). We would like to address these questions and more during the conference. Our purpose is to re-frame the academic discourses of (serial) killer fictions so that the focus is shifted away from the killer as an anti-hero, and directed towards other characters and audiences of these fictions, their contexts and their current cultural impact.

The dual focus of the theme – serial killing and serial narratives – allows for a broader and more interdisciplinary perspective, inviting discussions across the fields of literary studies, film and media studies, forensic psychology, criminology, historical studies, etc.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • narrative cycles: news reporting – documentary/book – screen adaptation
  • cultural memory of the murders
  • true crime podcasts and serial killer documentaries
  • dark tourism
  • transnational & glocal perspectives
  • killing in serial narratives across media
  • generic liminality and hybridity
  • visualising/estheticizing the narratives
  • female focus/focalisation/gaze
  • victims – from sets of clues to human beings
  • the detective/profiler-killer dynamic
  • character(s) and narratives
  • queering characters
  • demythologising the killer
  • forensic science & ‘death’ of the serial killer
  • the anniversary effect and/or copycat murders
  • the ‘serial-killer killer’ trope
  • commodification of violence & projecting traumas
  • reception studies
  • binge-watching/reading/playing & escapism during the pandemic

We welcome proposals for:

  • individual papers [20 min.]
  • 3-paper panel sessions [3 x 20 min.]
  • response papers [2 x 10 min.]
  • roundtable sessions [60 min.]
  • workshops [60 min.]

The conference will be held on Zoom. 

Please submit a 250-word proposal and a 100-word bionote by June 15, 2022 using the form available on our website: changingnarratives.weebly.com Please direct any queries to: framing.serial.killing@gmail.com or barbara.braid@usz.edu.pl
Notifications of acceptance will be sent by June 30, 2022.