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Crime Fiction and Global Spaces Part II

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Organizer: Patrick Deer

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The transnational “turn” in crime fiction and studies of the genre has produced a new understanding of the complex interplays between crime, policing and security. Just as crime is increasingly understood as a transnational phenomenon linking spheres of production and consumption across discreet national territories, policing now constitutes a set of networked activities connecting internally-facing police forces and externally-facing intelligence/security agencies across the globe.

We are keen to explore what these changes mean for crime fiction as genre. Individual papers might consider the ways in which crime fiction contributes to a larger biopolitical project, whereby populations are scrutinized and regulated, or whether the genre’s most incisive interventions come from writers who are keen to interrogate the disorder and violence that is inevitably bound up in new techniques and dispensations of power.

If the lone cop investigating a murder in a single locale remains an important staple, the genre’s opening up to the global dimensions of crime and policing presupposes inevitable mutations; and as such we are especially keen to think about the emergence of new hybrid forms as the distinctions between crime, sf, thrillers, war fiction, spy and espionage forms are eroded. We also welcome papers that consider representations of the populations and resistance movements targeted by both criminalization and by the militarization of policing (Occupy, BLM, or activist groups in the Global South).

This seminar is particularly interested in the seeming collapse of distinctions between “internal” and “external” and between realm of everyday life and the spectre of militarized violence. Just as crime can no longer be understood as belonging exclusively to either the domestic or international realm, policing and security initiatives inevitably bleed into one another. And just as domestic policing increasingly assumes a military dimension (police in paramilitary gear being “sent” into “unsafe” parts of the city), militarization that assumes an international dimension is typically characterized as policing or “police actions.” We want to consider how these semantic blurrings are interrogated in and by genre fiction and what kind of thematizations of order and disorder are created. Papers are also encouraged that explore how or whether the internationalization and militarization of policing and security (e.g. “war on drugs”, “war on terror”) produces a particular kind of fiction capable of connecting discreet encounters within particular locales (e.g. cities) and across disparate parts of the globe.

In welcoming papers on these and related questions from as many parts of the globe as possible, the seminar hopes to build on the discussions pursued so well in previous ACLA seminars: “Crime Fiction as World Literature” (2015), “Translating Crime” (2016), “Worlding Crime Fiction" (2017) and "Crime Fiction and Non-Violent Crime" (2018).

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