August 31, 2020

Corcos on Law and Norms and Will and Grace @LpcProf @WillandGrace

Christine A. Corcos, Louisiana State University Law Center, has published Law and Norms and Will and Grace at 50 Cumberland L. Rev. 85 (2020). Here is the abstract.
Like many other popular series featuring lawyers and law-related characters that are not primarily legal shows, Will & Grace was and is primarily a “relationship” show. The show features the friendships and closeness among the four main characters, best friends Will Truman and Grace Adler, who originally met in college, and Will’s friend Jack McFarland and Grace’s friend Karen Walker, who are brought together through their relationships with Will and Grace and also eventually become friends. Jack and Karen’s friendship is an exaggerated analogue of Will and Grace’s relationship. While it is not a legal show, Will & Grace does often feature legal themes, partly because one of its main characters is an attorney and partly because the law is such an important part of daily American life. If we have a problem or a dispute, we often consider whether the appropriate solution is a legal one, or whether we will be satisfied with a less formal and perhaps less binding outcome. More and more, we tend to view relationships and interactions through the legal system, using the law’s language and the law’s behavior. However, the characters in Will & Grace do not always decide on legal solutions to their problems. They may fashion other solutions that they think suit their needs, or they may never consider the law at all.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 27, 2020

Savage on COVID-1619: A Brief History of Racism @Dr_Audra_Savage @EmoryLaw

Audra Savage, Emory University Law School,has published COVID-1619: A Brief History of Racism. Here is the abstract.
Racism is the use of Black people to achieve the goals of white people without regard to the personhood, humanity, and agency of Blacks. This essay explores this definition of racism by tracing the influence of the twin institutions of law and religion in creating and maintaining the slave system in early colonial America. The essay then demonstrates the pernicious and persistent nature of racism by mapping this definition onto the current COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on Black Americans.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 25, 2020

Hadley on Tribal Tattoos and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation Claims @DrMarie_IP

Marie Hadley, Newcastle Law School, has published Tribal Tattoos and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation Claims. Here is the abstract.
This article explores the nature of cultural appropriation claims as a statement of possession over cultural property and a performative utterance that resists oppression. A close study of the aesthetics and ethics of tribal tattoo imagery, and in particular the tattoo created by artist S. Victor Whitmill for former world heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, is used to reflect upon the politics of alleging cultural appropriation. Empirical fieldwork with Māori tā moko artists is used to show that cultural appropriation claims are unstable property claims whose politics exceed the merely possessive. Critical perspectives on performativity expand the inquiry. It is argued that seeking inspiration from the art of the Other, as tribal tattoos do, is problematic – not so much because of the appropriation of cultural property per se but rather because doing so recreates colonial dynamics of demand, desire, and oppression.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Blackman on Presidential Subpoenas During the Burr Trials @JoshMBlackman

Josh Blackman, South Texas College of Law, Houston, has published Presidential Subpoenas during the Burr Trials. Here is the abstract.
Between March and October of 1807, Aaron Burr stood for two treason trials arising from the same set of facts: the first, for a felony charge, and the second, for a misdemeanor charge. Chief Justice John Marshall presided over the proceedings in the Circuit Court for Virginia in Richmond. During this period, Marshall issued seventeen written opinions, and delivered several shorter decisions from the bench, that spanned over two-hundred pages in the reporter. In the end, based on Marshall’s narrow construction of the crimes of treason, the jury acquitted Burr of both the felony and the misdemeanor charges. Marshall’s rulings, however, were not limited to technical aspects of criminal law. In both trials, Aaron Burr asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to President Jefferson. Such a subpoena would have required the witness to appear in court, and bring a specific document. Specifically, Burr wanted Jefferson to produce a letter authored by General Wilkinson, dated October 21, 1806. Burr insisted that this transmission to the President was material to his defense. Moreover, the Defendant demanded that Jefferson produce the original copy of Wilkinson’s letter. The United States Attorney, George Hay, would only offer to provide a redacted copy of the letter, with certain portions excluded. As the deliberations proceeded, Hay would frequently write to the President, who traveled between the White House and Monticello. Jefferson, who took a keen interest in the case, would usually write back immediately. The correspondences between Jefferson and Hay outside of court can shed light on the interactions between Hay and Marshall in court. That is, the government’s positions were based on direct instructions from the President himself. In the felony trial, Marshall ordered that Jefferson was required to submit the original copy of the letter, without redaction. Jefferson did not comply with this order. In the misdemeanor trial, Jefferson would provide a redacted copy of the letter. Because of the lengthy nature of the proceedings — in which Marshall and Jefferson took different positions at different junctures — it is difficult to draw too many broad conclusions from the prosecution as a whole. This essay will walk through each phase of the proceedings, with an eye towards understanding the limits on presidential subpoenas.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 24, 2020

CFP: Special Issue, Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law, Brazilian Journal of International Law @franca_marcilio

SPECIAL ISSUE – Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law
The Brazilian Journal of International Law, review indexed on Scopus and Qualis A1, invites submissions for a special issue on Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law to be published in December 2020. The issue will be edited by Professors Marcílio Toscano Franca Filho (Universidade Federal da Paraíba – UFPB, João Pessoa, Brazil) and Ardyllis Alves Soares (Centro Universitário de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil).
Submissions on all international aspects of Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law are welcomed.
Conscious of the undoubted significance of culture for peaceful international relations, for economic and social development, for the well-being of humanity and for the progress of civilization; and convinced of the worldwide relevance of culture as a source of remembrance, understanding, identity, dialogue and cohesion; the guest editors look forward to receiving innovative contributions that analyze the internationalization of Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law.
Suggested topics:
– 25th Anniversary of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects;
– 50th Anniversary of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property;
– Due Diligence in Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law;
– Concept of Artist and Artwork under International Law;
– Archaeological and Underwater Cultural Heritages;
– International Museum Law and Codes of Conduct;
– Cooperation, Restitution and Repatriation of Cultural Property;
– Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and Cultural Heritage
– International Arbitration and Artworks;
– The Role of Trusts and Freeports in Cultural Heritage Law;
– Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Peoples;
– Digital Art, its Definition And Preservation;
– Restitution of Holocaust-era Assets;
– Looted Art and Cultural Heritage in times of War;
– Succession of States and Cultural Heritage;
– Organised Crime, Terrorism and Cultural Heritage;
– Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Measures in the Art Market;
– International Circulation of Cultural Property;
– International Tax & Customs Law;
– Auction Houses under International Law;
– Monuments and Memorials as Reparations of Human Rights Violation
– Monument-Toppling
The Brazilian Journal of International Law is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal which publishes three issues per year.
Manuscripts may be submitted in English, French, Portuguese, Italian or Spanish. Submitting articles in English is strongly recommended. Manuscript revisions will be in the language of submission. Non-native speakers are strongly encouraged to have their paper read by a native speaker. The Journal will reject articles if the level of chosen language is insufficient.
The Journal has a double-blind peer-review policy. The response from the reviewers will normally be provided within 30 days from the submission. Authors are expected to correct and return proofs of accepted articles within 15 days.
Authors should preferably hold a PhD and/or have a strong professional/academic background in Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law at the time of submission. The editors reserve the right to scrutinize and provide feedback on manuscripts before review with regard to their suitability for the journal, including concerning analytical consistency, non-compliance with the applicable submission guidelines, and linguistic and stylistic matters.
The deadline for submission is August 15th. 2020.
All content published by the Journal, except where identified, is licensed under a Creative Commons attribution-type BY-NC. This will ensure the widest dissemination and protection against copyright infringement of articles. The “article” is defined as comprising the final, definitive, and citable Version of Scholarly Record, and includes: (a) the accepted manuscript in its final and revised form, including the text, abstract, and all accompanying tables, illustrations, data; and (b) any supplemental material.
As an author, you are required to secure permission to reproduce any proprietary text, illustration, table, or other material, including data, audio, video, film stills, and screenshots, and any supplemental material you propose to submit. This applies to direct reproduction as well as “derivative reproduction” (where you have created a new figure or table that derives substantially from a copyrighted source). The reproduction of short extracts of text, excluding poetry and song lyrics, for the purposes of criticism may be possible without formal permission on the basis that the quotation is reproduced accurately and full attribution is given.MANUSCRIPT STRUCTUREGuidelines for preparing and submitting your manuscript to this journal are provided below.
The Journal considers all manuscripts on the strict condition that they have not been submitted elsewhere, that they have not been published already, nor are they under consideration for publication or in press elsewhere. Contributions must report original research and will be subjected to review by referees at the discretion of the Editorial Committee.GENERAL GUIDELINES
Manuscripts should be written in Times New Roman, size 12, space between lines 1.5 throughout the manuscript (including all quotations, endnotes and references).
Pages should be numbered consecutively.
Notes should be listed consecutively at the end of the article (endnotes), and clearly marked in the text at the point of punctuation by superior numbers. Endnotes should be used for clarification purposes only.
Manuscripts must be submitted in Word format (.doc). PDF files will not be accepted.
All the authors of a paper must attach their short curriculum vitae (CV), which must consist of a single one paragraph-text of 100-120 words in length, each. This is to be done online during the submission process.
The affiliations of all named co-authors should be the affiliation where the research was conducted. If any of the named co-authors moves affiliation during the peer review process, the new affiliation can be given as a footnote. Please note that no changes to affiliation can be made after the article is accepted.
All manuscripts submitted should be free from jargon and be written as clearly and concisely as possible. Non-discriminatory language is mandatory. Sexist or racist terms must not be used.
All submissions should be made online via
Articles should be based on original research and develop an original argument falling within the scope of the journal. The articles are subjected to a blind-peer review and must include:
Abstract of up to 200 words
5-7 keywords
Main text
References (at the end of the article)
Acknowledgements (if appropriate)
Table(s) and Figure(s) with caption(s) (on individual files) (if appropriate)
For questions regarding the content of this special issue, please contact:
Professor NitishMonebhurrun — Editor of the Brazilian Journal of International law

Mirow on Felix Varela y Morales (Cuba, 1788-1853)

M. C. Mirow, Florida International University College of Law, is publishing Félix Varela y Morales (Cuba, 1788-1853) in Law and Christianity in Latin America: The Work of Great Jurists (M.C. Mirow and Rafael Domingo, eds., Routledge, 2020) (Forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
Born in Havana, Félix Varela y Morales was an eminent Cuban intellectual of the nineteenth century. An educator, philosopher, and deputy, he advocated for Cuban independence through peaceful revolution. He was ordained a priest in 1811, lived modestly, and disposed of his property for the benefit of the poor. Varela served as a professor of constitutional law in Havana, wrote one of the first books on constitutional law in Spanish, and served as a deputy to the Spanish Constitutional Cortes in 1822 and 1823. This chapter explores Varela’s constitutional thought through his writings and service as a deputy to the Cortes. His work in this field reveals a form of eclectic liberalism infused and consistent with Catholic thought. In the Cortes, Varela’s interventions advocated for autonomous structures of colonial government in the Americas and urged Spanish recognition of the independence of new American republics. He defended the interests of the church and promoted a wide variety of issues related to education. He spent his last thirty years in the United States in exile from his Cuban homeland. He was a thoughtful apologist for the Catholic Church in New York and served several parishes there. His poor health led him to return to Saint Augustine, Florida, where he had spent his childhood.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

August 20, 2020

Corcos on Three Ways of Looking at Law and Popular Culture @LSULawCenter @IRPI_Paris_II

Christine A. Corcos, Louisiana State University Law Center, has published Three Ways of Looking at Law and Popular Culture in Propriete Intellectuelle et Pop Culture: Nouveaux enjeux, nouveaux defis 9 (Actes du colloque: PI et pop culture) (Actes du colloque des JUSPI) (IRPI, 2020). Here is the abstract.
In 1989 the Stanford University Law School professor Lawrence Friedman offered a definition of “popular legal culture.” In an often-cited article, he wrote that, “In the first place, legal culture acts as an intervening variable, a mechanism for transforming norms of popular culture into legal dress and shape. In the second place, legal and popular culture, as images of each other, help explicate and illuminate their respective contents”. He notes that law and culture interact in two ways. Law is outward-looking; it depends on and interacts with the society from which it springs. At the same time it shapes that society. We can and do also talk about at least two current and differing uses of law and popular culture in legal education. We can use law and popular culture to teach legal principles. This use makes legal doctrine entertaining and accessible. We can also dig for the messages it gives us about the interaction of law and society. This second method requires us to interact with the texts of both law and popular culture. Currently in legal education we can and do examine at law and popular culture in both of the ways Friedman identifies. I suggest that we can identify and should examine a third intersection of law and popular culture that scholars have begun to study, that I suggest we should formally acknowledge as a part of law and popular culture studies. This third intersection is the actual trans-formative effect or trans-formative turn that popular culture and law have on each other. I would suggest both that certain types of intellectual property studies and certain types of activity fall into this category. One example is law’s response to the creation of fan fiction and of fan use of copyrighted and trademarked materials that force a response from the rights holders, or force fans to cease a particular activity because the rights holders refuse permission to proceed. We have many examples of the legal responses and changes in norms that illustrate these interactions. What we don’t yet seem to have in the general theory of law and pop culture is a definition for this third intersection. It may be that this third intersection is now most obvious in intellectual property law, perhaps because of the accessibility and spread of technology as well as the overwhelming importance of social media in our lives today. It exists in other areas of law as well, for example in family law, in criminal law, in privacy law, and has for some time. I would suggest that this intersection creates the possibility for the working out of the tensions between law and culture, as the public through pop culture identifies how the law works, what the law is, and then reacts to the law, makes demands on the law, and in some cases, forces changes in the law.
The full text is not currently available from SSRN.

Simon on The Power of Connectivity: The Science and Art of Transitions @uarizonalaw

Diana Simon, University of Arizona College of Law, is publishing The Power of Connectivity: The Science and Art of Transitions in volume 18 of the Legal Communications & Rhetoric: JALWD (Fall 2021). Here is the abstract.
Do transitions really matter? Yes. This article explores the impact of transitions in legal writing beyond simply improving flow and readability. First, with the help of cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists, the science behind transitions is addressed, because science shows that transitions increase comprehension and improve processing times. Second, the omnipresence and significance of transitions is addressed with the help of singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake and his song, “SexyBack” and comedian Brian Regan and his stand-up bit, “I Walked on the Moon.” Third, various types of transitions in legal writing are addressed with a special focus on the “magic of three” in persuasion in both legal writing and beyond.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 14, 2020

CFP: Comics Forum 2020: Pages of Whiteness @ComicsForum

November 2020, Online
Conference Lead: Olivia Hicks
Call for Contributions

In White, Richard Dyer argues that race is something which is only applied to non-white people; and thus white people are allowed to speak from a non-racialised, normalised position of power.1  In Unstable Masks, Sean Guynes and Martin Lund state that whiteness is a set of malleable historical, geographical and cultural values, that is ‘one of the key historical formations of power, surveillance and control’ in the West.2 Drawing attention to whiteness is drawing attention to what is naturalised and/or normally invisible.

The title of this conference comes from Tracy D. Morgan’s essay ‘Pages of Whiteness’, which explores white supremacy in the erotic fantasies of the queer physical culture movement in the American post-war period.3 The essay title refers both to the white paper used to produce physical culture magazines, but also the overwhelming presence of white bodies within, and the suffocating racist fantasies which inform the rare appearances of Black or Latino models. The phrase suggests an intersection of identity, materiality and (comics) production. This essay is one of many exposing how whiteness shapes the media we create and consume. The idea of whiteness as a ‘norm’ and the backdrop against which all other identities are contrasted and controlled, filters into
every facet of the comics we read and study; from the over-abundance of white characters and storylines, the privileging of white editorial and creative voices, to the ‘whiteness’ of the comic’s pages, suggesting a white, blank default, to the inks which are used in production, which privilege white skin tones. As Zoe D. Smith notes in her essay ‘Four Color-ism’, ‘Brown skin in comics of this period fails in part because there’s too much ink. The layers of cyan, magenta, and yellow are unreliable and painfully noticeable. White skin, by contrast, is thoughtlessly stable.’4

Maintaining the status quo of Western society is a thoughtless action; challenging the structuring logic of our worlds is a task which requires engagement and action. This conference is calling for a critical examining of whiteness and the structuring systems of comics and comics scholarship. One could respond to this theme by exploring whiteness within comics and/or comics academia. One could also choose to examine those identities which are marginalised or excluded; exploring creators and characters with marginalised identities. This call also encourages work on the production and materiality of comics; submissions on colouring (which is an underappreciated part of comics production) and zine culture, where creators often deliberately choose colourful paper or a collage effect which disrupts the notion of the white page being the norm.

Some ways Pages of Whiteness could be interpreted are as follows:

Whiteness and Comics
Comics and Race
Comics and Identity
Comics and Activism/Protest
Queering Comics
Comics Production (including colouring)
Zine Culture
Colour and Comics
Comics scholarship; new approaches to studying comics
Comics Practice as research
Digital “Page-less” Comics
Comics Forum 2020 will take place online. We invite contributors to submit proposals in the following formats, but we are open to other suggestions if speakers are in a position to offer them:

Pre-recorded videos: This may be a single speaker talk of 10-15 minutes, or a 20-minute conversation between two or more speakers. These can be followed by live Q&As either in a video call and/or via Twitter (please specify which you wish to use when you submit your proposal).

Live Events: These may be workshops, reading groups, demonstrations of practice or research methods etc. Events will be hosted on relevant openly-accessible platforms suitable for large-scale live video calls – if you would like to use a particular platform please specify this, otherwise make clear in your proposal what the format of your proposed event is so we can ensure we have access to a platform that will support it. Please note that time-zones mean that live events can be geographically exclusive, so if you can run your event in a way that includes some asynchronous content this will enable more people to participate.

Digital Zines: Zines on the conference theme can be submitted in PDF format for inclusion in the event via Issuu.

Proposals of up to 250 words in length for contributions in the formats detailed above are now being accepted at the following link: The deadline for submissions is the 1st of September 2020 and you will be notified of acceptance by or before the 14th of September 2020. Please include a short (100 word) biography with your proposal.

Comics Forum 2020 is part of the Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival. Find out more about Thought Bubble at:

Note: The Comics Forum organising committee asked Olivia Hicks to be a co-organiser for the 2020 conference in 2019. In January 2020, Olivia proposed the call ‘Pages of Whiteness’ which as accepted by the team immediately. The call was an urgent call to action in comics scholarship in January, and recent events have only served to further highlight how necessary this work is.

1: Richard Dyer, White, (London: Routledge, 1997), p.2.

2: Sean Guynes and Martin Lund, ‘Introduction’ in: Unstable Masks: Whiteness and American Superhero Comics (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2019), p.2.

3: Tracy D. Morgan, ‘Pages of Whiteness: Race, Physique Magazines, and the Emergence of Gay Culture’ in Queer Studies: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Anthology, edited by Brett Beemyn and Mickey Eliason (New York and London: New York University Press, 1996), pp.280-297.

4: Zoe D. Smith, ‘4 Colorism, or, the Ashiness of it all’, Women Write About Comics (24 May 2019), <>

August 12, 2020

Partlett on Constitutional Historiography @WPartlett @MelbLawSchool

William Partlett, Melbourne Law School, has published Constitutional Historiography as University of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 896. Here is the abstract.
This paper will argue that the insights of professional historians can and should be used to better understand the use of history in constitutional argument. Historiography—the methodology of professional historians—demonstrates that history is frequently used selectively to advance a favored outcome. Judges and constitutional scholars should therefore be highly critical of claims that history provides objective answers to constitutional questions. At the same time, historiography shows that non-selective accounts of history can and should play an important role in finding answers to contemporary constitutional questions. In this role, history is under-determined and best used to support or shed new light on a constitutional argument. Historiography therefore demonstrates not just the perils of historical argument but also its possibilities for constitutional argument.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Call For Submissions: The Crossroads of Crime Writing: Historical, Sociological, and Cultural Contexts/Intersections/Perspectives

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS—EDITED COLLECTION Proposal/abstract deadline: November 1, 2020

Final essays due: April 2021 The Crossroads of Crime Writing: Historical, Sociological and Cultural Contexts/ Intersections/ Perspectives

This volume, which will be proposed to a leading independent academic publisher, seeks to explore the implications of crime writing in its various narrative forms through essays which situate orientations fictional and non-fictional, past and present in relation to public perspectives. Just as real crime has served as inspiration for fictional accounts, Kieran Dolin reminds us in Fiction and the Law (Cambridge Press, 2009) that crime literature has long influenced popular understanding of social institutions as well. And so, we are not only interested in offering a comprehensive overview of crime writing in its diverse forms, but in examining how crime writing simultaneously reflects temporal biases and influences popular conceptions of politics, the law, psychology, the self, and more. Over a century ago, in his examination The Sensational in Modern English Fiction (1919), Walter Clarke Phillips declared, “Whatever sources of appeal may come or go, there is one which from the very structure of modern democratic society seldom bids for applause unheeded — that is, the appeal to fear” (2). And, it is to this appeal that we owe the abundance of crime writing at our disposal— a trove of mystery that undoubtedly fascinates in its ability to entertain while safely reflecting the ugliest truths about ourselves and the societies in which we live. It is in this vein that Catherine Nickerson asserts in “Murder as Social Criticism,” that crime fiction “is deeply enmeshed with most of the thornier problems of the Victorian, modern, and postmodern eras, including gender roles and privileges, racial prejudice and the formation of racial consciousness, the significance and morality of wealth and capital, and the conflicting demands of privacy and social control” (American Literary History). And, this is just as true of Gothic and Victorian Sensation novels which generally expose social anxieties in relation to cultural, institutional and individual identities as it is of the ever-growing contemporary genre of True Crime which typically concentrates “upon certain events and figures as kinds of cultural flashpoints, and it also has a long history, from colonial narratives to early twentieth-century pulp fiction” (Rosalind Smith, “Dark Places: True Crime Writing in Australia”). 

We invite essays that provide new insights into the works of significant authors, series or sub-genres of crime literature that we once thought we knew and/ or examine the intersections of the real and fictional within the broader genre of Crime Writing in meaningful ways. Contributors are encouraged to dissect the historical, cultural, and/ or sociological significance of crime fiction, as well as examine how such works influence true crime writing or vice versa. 

Possible essay topics could include (but are not limited to) the following: •The History/Genesis of Mystery/Crime Writing and/or its Structure or Tenets •The Nineteenth-Century Police Force and the Detective Novel •Intersections between the Real and Fictional in Historical Crime Novels •British Aesthetic vs. American Hardboiled Crime •The Dime Novel and/or Early Hardboiled Fiction •The Police Procedural and Popular Culture •Historical Mystery as a Means of Contextualizing the Current •Crime Writing and Gender Roles •Racial Consciousness and Detection •Socio-economics of Crime and Detection •Socio-political Readings of the Gentleman Detective and/or Hardboiled Detective •Cross-Dressing and/or Queering in Mysteries •LGBTQ+ Portrayals in Mysteries •Intersections between Detective Film and Literature •Exploring Law through Literature/ Legal Thrillers •Lawyers and the Courtroom Drama •The Serial Killer and Contemporary Culture •Holmesian Influence/Pervasiveness in Western Culture •American Realism in Crime Writing •Capers/The Criminal Mind •Crime Fiction’s Influence on Journalistic Reporting/True Crime •(Neo)Gothic or (Neo)Victorian Sensation Novels

Please email 500-word abstracts along with a 200-word biographical statement to Meghan Nolan ( and Rebecca Martin ( by November 1st, 2020. The deadline for selected essays of 5000-7000 words is April 2021.

August 5, 2020

International Conference: CFP: Detecting Europe in Contemporary Crime Narratives: Print Fiction, Film, and Television @DetectH2020

International Conference: Call for Papers

Detecting Europe in contemporary crime narratives: print fiction, film, and television


21-23 June 2021

Link Campus University

Via del Casale di San Pio V 44 – Rome

Conference Website:

Among the different expressions of popular culture, no other genre more than crime – meant as a composite made up of many different variants or subgenres -- has proved able to travel and expand its reach into international markets and with audiences. Nor has any other genre been more adept at laying bare the conflicts and contradictions – social, political and historical – that characterise contemporary European societies. The Detecting Europe conference offers an open forum to explore and discuss how narratives of crime and investigation, as well as their production and reception, have helped define the major industrial, commercial, thematic and stylistic trends of European popular culture since 1989, fostering both the transnational circulation of its products and the appearance of new transcultural representations in line with the emergence

of new social identities. We welcome proposals that interrogate the notion of Europeanness as a critical category, and its viability for the study of contemporary popular culture, both in print and screen media. We wish to explore both the scope and limits of the interrelated notions of transnational identity and cosmopolitanism when applied to the works of European crime fiction, including print fiction, film, and TV. 


A few general — but not exclusive — questions may be asked. Are we to conceive of cosmopolitanism and the  process of European transculturation merely as unifying factors, fostering the generation of a shared and uniform transnational identity? Or should we better acknowledge the existence of a variety of European transcultural identities, expressed in different writing and audio-visual styles, characteristic narrative models, place-specific production cultures and distribution and consumption patterns? What is the impact of national media ecologies in shaping the idea of the European, and how the national translate the European when foreign products appear in its mediascape? Should hybridization and transculturation be assumed as markers and powerful drivers of cultural homologation? Or rather the opposite is true, namely that cultural hybridization entails a growing differentiation of narrative forms and styles, contents and formats, production and reception practices, thus contributing to the emergence of a post-national assemblage of multiple and possibly diverging cosmopolitan identities? We deem it important, at this particular time, that the notion of Europeanness and its eventual instantiations in contemporary crime narratives is approached having in mind the multiple crises that are currently affecting the continent and its population.


We invite proposals from multiple fields of cultural studies, including representation studies, industry and production studies, and reception and audience studies. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:


• Main stylistic trends of the crime-genre works produced in Europe in the last 30 years.

Debating/reframing Euronoir as a critical category for cultural studies.

• Hybridization and transculturation: toward homologation or increased cultural differentiation?

• Crime fiction and the European crisis: immigration, migrant labour, Brexit, and the rise of right-wing popularism.

• The restaging and critical analysis of Europe’s recent past in the work of crime writers, screenwriters and directors.

• Images of Europe and Europeans: investigating social change through the study of popular crime narratives.

• Restating vs challenging class, gender and ethnic stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination in the representation of crime.

• The multiple facets of European diversity: how have social, spatial and historical identities been expressed in the works of the European crime genre?

• Ecocriticism and environmental humanities in the era of widescale ecological crisis: eco-noir and the challenges to European environment policies.

• The profiled position of crime in fostering transnational cooperation in the European cultural and creative sectors.

• Relationships and discrepancies between national/local creative industries and transnational cultural policies in the production milieu of the European crime genre.

• Transnational production and distribution and the emergence of transcultural formats.

• The hopes and limits of European cohesiveness, as revealed in practices of co-production and

distribution of crime novels, films and TV dramas across the continent.

• Crime narratives and the media discourse on organized trans-European crime.

• Fictional representations of legal and forensic practices in comparative perspective.

• Translation, dubbing, subtitling as strategies for cultural adaptation and appropriation.

• The imbrication of local, national and transnational identities in the reception of foreign crime stories, between old and fresh perspectives on proximate or distant neighbors.

• Transnational distribution and the role of audiences in shaping the circulation patterns of European crime narratives across the continent.

• Detecting transcultural identity and social change through the study of the audiences’ response to crime stories and trans/cross-media universes.

• Engagement and design of crime audiences in the age of digital markets and online distribution.

• Making sense of social change through the audience’s response to the representation of female, gay, lesbian and queer characters.

• Theorising transnational/transdisciplinary research for the study of European crime narratives in print and screen media.


Conference Chairs

Monica Dall’Asta (University of Bologna), Federico Pagello (University of Chieti-Pescara), Valentina Re (Link Campus University)


Organizing Committee 

Luca Antoniazzi (University of Bologna), Sara Casoli (University of Bologna), Massimiliano Coviello (Link Campus University), Paola De Rosa (Link Campus University), Lorenzo Orlando (Link Campus University)


Advisory Board 

Stefano Arduini (Link Campus University), Maurizio Ascari (University of Bologna), Jan Baetens (KU Leuven), Luca Barra (University of Bologna), Stefano Baschiera (Queen’s University Belfast), Giulia Carluccio (University of Turin), Silvana Colella (University of Macerata), Caius Dobrescu (University of Bucharest), Andrea Esser (University of Roehampton), Nicola Ferrigni (Link Campus University), Katarina Gregersdotter (Umeå University), Kim Toft Hansen (Aalborg University), Annette Hill (University of Lund), Dominique Jeannerod (Queen’s University Belfast), Sandor Kalai (University of Debrecen), Matthieu Letourneux (University Paris Nanterre), Natacha Levet (University of Limoges), Giacomo Manzoli (University of Bologna), Janet McCabe (Birkbeck University), Jacques Migozzi (University of Limoges), Andrew Pepper (Queen’s University Belfast), Marica Spalletta (Link Campus University)


Deadlines and practicalities

Abstracts deadline: 15 November 2020

Feedback: 15 December 2020

Registration deadline: 31 January 2020

Regular conference fee: €120

Reduced conference fee (PhD students, Postdoctoral researchers): €90

Further information:


Submissions guidelines

Submissions are welcome as individual papers (max. 20 minutes) and pre-constituted panels (3/4 papers).

Individual presenters are required to provide their name, email address, the title of the paper, an abstract (max. 300 words), references (max. 200 words), and a short bio (max. 150 words).


Submit your paper proposal here 

Submit your panel proposal here (panel organizers are also asked to submit a panel title and a short description of the panel (max. 300 words).


The conference is supported by CUC – Consulta Universitaria del Cinema, Italy.


Luca Antoniazzi


Post-doctoral Researcher

Università di Bologna 

Dipartimento delle Arti 

Via Barberia, 4, 40123 Bologna (IT)