Call for Papers (currently open)

The Captivating Criminality Network is delighted to announce its eighth conference, which will be held in Bamberg, Germany, from the 1st to the 3rd of July 2021. Building upon ideas and themes from the previous seven successful conferences, Crime Fiction, Femininities and Masculinites, will examine the ways in which Crime Fiction as a genre incorporates and (re-)negotiates gender and sex, and represents and/or questions normativity and deviance in gender and sexual identities throughout its own generic developments and also in regard to true crime and historical events.

Crime Fiction reaches large numbers of readers with heterogeneous interests. In other words, it provides something for everyone, yet in doing so it can either assert or scrutinise and thus re-negotiate gender and sexual normativity. As such, the genre itself is both assertive of perceived normativity and at the same time deviant from socially constructed roles and rules. A crime of any kind, after all, already provides a disruption of order and sets extraordinary events in motion. The exceptional situation a crime creates thus leaves room for all kinds of agents (for queerness or normativity) to revise order and normativity. Crime, sex and gender are intricately linked, be that through the characters, the target audience, or the crime itself. Probably no other genre provides such a broad spectrum of characters, ranging from the occasionally hyper-masculine hardboiled detective and the stereotypically feminine spinster sleuth to androgynous private eyes or gender-fluid police detectives.

Moreover, a scholarly focus on gender and sex in Crime Fiction “has […] advanced understanding of the socially constructed nature of crime” (2) as Bill McCarthy and Rosemary Gartner write in the Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex and Crime (2014). Crime as a social construct inhabits a liminal position. Like gender, it crosses boundaries and is thus positioned on a perpetual threshold between what is read as “order” or “normality” and “chaos” or “deviance.” Crime Fiction provides the space to investigate this liminality and to open up stereotypical concepts of normativity in crime, gender and sexuality. Crime Fiction’s relationship with sex and gender is thus fascinatingly complex and allows for a broad variety of critical angles on the topic.

Papers presented at Captivating Criminality 8 will examine changing notions of gender and sexuality and their relation to crime and Crime Fiction, drawing on the multiple threads that have fed into the genre since its inception. Speakers are invited to explore the crossing of forms and themes within Crime Fiction to challenge the notions of gender and sexuality within the genre. Moreover, we particularly welcome papers exploring how femininities and masculinities are represented and negotiated in the liminal space of Gothic and crime. Abstracts dealing with Crime Fiction past and present, true crime narratives, 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:

  • True Crime
  • Gothic and Crime
  • Gender and the Past
  • Gender vs. Sexuality
  • Gender Stereotypes in Crime Fiction
  • Gender and liminality
  • Queerness in Crime Fiction
  • Crime Fiction in the age of #metoo
  • Crime Fiction from traumatised nations
  • Crime Fiction and Landscape
  • Revisionist Crime Fiction
  • Crime Fiction and contemporary debates
  • Crime Reports and the Press
  • Real and Imagined Deviance
  • Adaptation and Interpretation
  • Crime Fiction and Form
  • Generic Crossings
  • The Detective, Then and Now
  • The Anti-Hero
  • Geographies of Crime
  • Real and Symbolic Boundaries
  • Ethnicity and Cultural Diversity
  • The Ideology of Law and Order: Tradition and Innovation
  • Women and Crime: Victims and Perpetrators
  • Crime and Queer Theory
  • Film Adaptations
  • TV series
  • Technology
  • The Media and Detection
  • Sociology of Crime
  • The Psychological
  • Early Forms of Crime Writing
  • Victorian Crime Fiction
  • The Golden Age
  • Hardboiled Fiction
  • Contemporary Crime Fiction
  • Postcolonial Crime and Detection


To apply:​

Please send 200 word proposals to Fiona Peters (ICFA) and Kerstin-Anja Münderlein (University of Bamberg), to captivating.criminality.2021(at) by 15th February 2021.

The abstract should include your name, email address, and affiliation, as well as the title of your paper. Please feel free to submit abstracts presenting work in progress as well as completed projects. Postgraduate students are welcome. Papers will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Proposals for suggested panels are also welcome. 

Conference Fees:

The fee for the conference will be announced as soon as possible.