6th Annual Conference of the International Crime Fiction Association
Captivating Criminality 6: Metamorphoses of Crime: Facts and Fictions
12-15 June 2019
G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy
Call for Papers
The Captivating Criminality Network is delighted to announce its sixth conference, which will be
held in Italy. Building upon and developing ideas and themes from the previous five successful
conferences, Metamorphoses of Crime: Facts and Fictions will examine the ways in which Crime
Fiction as a genre incorporates elements of real-life cases and, in turn, influences society by
conveying thought-provoking ideas of deviance, criminal activity, investigation and punishment.
Since its inception, the genre has drawn inspiration from sensational crime reports. In early
nineteenth-century Britain, for example, Newgate novels largely drew on the biographies of famous
bandits, while penny dreadfuls popularized the exploits of criminals and detectives to appeal the
taste for horror and transgression of their target audience. In similar ways, notorious cases widely
reported in the mid-Victorian press, such as the Road Murder (1860) or the Madeleine Smith trial
(1857), exerted a significant influence on the imagination of mid- to late-Victorian novelists,
including early practitioners of the sensation genre who laid the premises for the creation of
detective fiction. In other cases, criminal actions were triggered by literary texts or turned into
appealing fictions by journalists. Suffice it to consider the sensation created by Jack the Ripper’s
murders in late-Victorian Britain or the twentieth-century recent cases of murders committed by
imitators of criminals and serial killers featured in novels like A ClockWork Orange (1962), The
Collector (1963), Rage (1977), and American Psycho (1991). In more recent times, the interaction
between reality and other media (TV series, films, computer games, websites, chats, etc.) has raised
the question of how crime continues to glamorize perturbing, blood-chilling stories of law-breaking
In addition to exploring these complex relations between facts and fictions, the conference will
focus on the metamorphoses of crime across media, as well as cultural and critical boundaries.
Speakers are invited to explore the crossing of forms and themes, and to ascertain the extent to
which canonized definitions suit the extreme volatility of a genre that challenges categorization.
From an ideological viewpoint, moreover, crime fiction has proved to be highly metamorphic, as it
has been variously used to challenge, reinforce or simply interrogate ideas of ‘law and order’.
The enduring appeal of the genre is also due to its openness to historical and cultural movements –
such as feminism, gender studies, queer politics, postmodernism – as well as to concepts drawn
from specific fields of knowledge, such as sociology and psychology. Similarly relevant to the
‘metamorphoses of crime’ are cultural exchanges among remote areas of the world, which add new
perspectives to the genre’s representation of customs and ethnical issues.
Scholars, practitioners and fans of crime writing are invited to participate in this conference that
will address these key elements of crime fiction and real crime, from the early modern to the
present day. Topics may include, but are not restricted to:
• True Crime, Fictional Crime
• Crime Reports and the Press
• Real and Imagined Deviance
• Adaptation and Interpretation
• Crime Fiction and Form
• Generic Crossings
• Crime and Gothic
• 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
• Gender and Crime
• Women and Crime: Victims and Perpetrators
• Crime and Queer Theory
• Film Adaptations
• TV series
• The Media and Detection
• Sociology of Crime
• The Psychological
• Early Forms of Crime Writing
• Eighteenth-Century Crime
• Victorian Crime Fiction
• The Golden Age
• Hardboiled Fiction
• Contemporary Crime Fiction
• Postcolonial Crime and Detection
Plenary speakers will be Eric Peter Sandberg (City University of Hong Kong) and Maurizio Ascari
(University of Bologna).
Please send 200 word proposals to Professor Mariaconcetta Costantini and Dr Fiona Peters to the
following email account: firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th February 2019.
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. .