Intersections of Crime and the Gothic

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Captivating Criminality 9

Deadline: 31 October 2022 Hybrid Conference: 2nd - 4th of March 2023 
The Captivating Criminality Network is delighted to announce its ninth conference. Organised in cooperation with the Gothic in Asia Association [GAA] and the BALAC Programme of the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, this will be the network’s first conference held in Asia taking place via hybrid mode at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.   Building upon ideas and themes from the previous eight successful conferences, Captivating Criminality 9: Intersections of Crime and the Gothic will examine the ways in which crime (fiction) and Gothic narratives converge and interact with each other. Crime and the Gothic have always shared a special relationship. With its emphasis on the surprising and the mysterious, secretive landscapes and characters, and often excessive fascination with violence, deviance, and all forms of transgression, the Gothic novel was crucial for the emergence of crime fiction and their identifying features overlap to a certain extent. As Catherine Spooner observes: “Gothic narratives are driven by crime, whether the misdeeds of earlier generations, the sins of the secret self or the aesthetic murders of monstrous hero-villains. Crime can be presented as ‘Gothic’ through the themes of the returning past, the psychologically unstable protagonist, the celebration of excess, and the emphasis on surfaces” (2010, p. 257). The Gothic novel was a direct influence on the development of the sensation novel and the detective story, which felt at home with its conventions of secretive past, multiple identities, fake deaths, and scientific reanimation of the dead. Crime fiction secularised Gothic narratives and domesticated their settings, adapting them to the fast-changing modern world. This mutual influence continued across the media. The Gothic mode was consequential for the development of hardboiled fiction, while film noir set out stylistic patterns for identifying Gothic aesthetics in visual media. The skyrocketing popularity of serial killer film and television narratives since the 1990s owes much to reinventing predatory multiple murderers as human equivalents of vampires. And while most crime narratives tend to avoid clearly supernatural plots, ghost stories past and present continue to portray haunting as a response to crime-related trauma. Scholars, practitioners, and fans of the crime genre from all regions of the world are invited to participate in this conference that will address the relationship between true crime, crime fiction, and the Gothic through the ages. We welcome multidisciplinary approaches to wide-ranging aspects of Crime and the Gothic related to liminality, transgression, deviance, trauma, degeneration, and hauntings, in texts ranging from novels, short stories, films, television series, documentaries, and press reports through to manga, anime, computer games, and podcasts.

Speakers are invited to explore texts belonging to (or translated into) different languages and cultures representing local, global, and transcultural approaches to true crime and fictional crime narratives across a variety of media, including adaptations, interpretations, and genre crossings. Given the conference’s location, we would like to encourage the submission of papers exploring the relationship between crime fiction and the Gothic in Asian contexts but the conference should not be seen as limited only to Asian-themed presentations.

Abstracts for 20-minute presentations dealing with intersections of crime fiction and the Gothic past and present, true crime, television and film studies, and other forms of new media such as blogs, computer games, websites, and podcasts are welcome, as are papers adopting a range of theoretical, sociological, and historical approaches.Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Supernatural and Speculative Crime Fiction
  • Serial Killer narratives / Vampires as Serial Killers
  • Criminals as Monsters / Monstrous Criminals
  • Vengeful Spirits and Violence against Women
  • Crime and Madness
  • Murderers as Deranged Artists
  • The Aesthetics of Violence
  • Secrets of the Past / Sins of the Fathers
  • Deviance and Trauma
  • Evil and Ethics
  • Guilt and Punishment
  • Liminality and Transgression
  • Gothic Villains and Anti-Heroes
  • Victims and Perpetrators
  • Gothic Geographies of Crime
  • Caste Discrimination and Honour Killing
  • Narratives of Domestic Violence / Dysfunctional Families
  • School and Workplace Bullying
  • Hardboiled Fiction / Film Noir
  • Asian Crime Fiction (including explorations of specifically Asian genres like honkaku and henkaku mysteries, or gong’an crime-case fiction)
  • Gangster films (including Asian gangster genres like the Japanese yakuza/ninkyo films, HK Triad films, or Korean kkangpae films)
  • Crime and Exploitation cinema
  • Crime and Revenge films
  • Organized Crime narratives (drug trafficking, sex trafficking, organ transplants)
  • Crime Procedurals, Detectives, and Law Enforcement
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Religion and Violence
  • Hate Crimes

For more information, please see the conference website.  Since the world is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and we understand that not everyone may be open to international travel, the conference will be held in a hybrid mode – in person, at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and online. Please also indicate whether you would like to attend the conference in Bangkok or whether you prefer to participate in the event online. This will help us plan the event better. ​Please send your abstracts of 250 words and proposals for panels to the conference organisers at captivatingcriminalitybangkok@gmail.com by 31 October 2022.

Abstracts should include your name, affiliation (if any) and email address, as well as the title of your paper and a short bio note. Postgraduate students are welcome. Please note that you will be need to be a registered member of ICFA to present at the conference.