CFP: Mystery and Detective Fiction

Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association (PCA/ACA)
2018 National Conference
Indianapolis, IN
March 28 - April 1, 2018
Stichtag: 01.10.2017

The Mystery & Detective Fiction Area of the Popular Culture Association invites proposals for our annual conference. We seek proposals for scholarly discussions on all aspects and periods of mystery and detective fiction, including history, criticism, theory, and current trends. We welcome a wide range of topics and approaches, but ask that proposals go beyond plot summary, extending existing scholarship in new directions. We seek proposals that have a clear and focused argument that can be developed adequately in a 15-minute presentation.

We welcome proposals on the following:

  • Writers and works ranging from classic to contemporary
  • Storytelling styles, stock characters, and tropes relevant to the genre (e.g., individual mysteries compared to series, long-term story arcs)
  • Axes of diversity and identity politics in mystery/detective fiction (e.g., race/ethnicity/class/ gender/sexual orientation)
  • Various subgenres (e.g., hardboiled detective fiction / cozy detective fiction)
  • Overlaps with other genres (e.g., horror, romance, dystopia, Westerns)
  • Trauma theory and other psychological approaches (e.g., cognitive poetics)
  • Representing crime, justice, violence, stereotyping, etc.
  • Comparisons between fictional and “true crime”/news representations of crime
  • Questions of high/low culture
  • International incarnations of mystery, detective, and crime works
  • Analyses of promotional and/or contextual materials (reviews, handbooks, etc.)
  • Mystery community culture (e.g., conferences, associations, forums, bookstores, listservs, author events, fandoms)
  • The genre as represented outside of print media, including film, television, podcasts, mystery dinner theatre, computer games, transmedia experiments, etc.

Please submit your 100- to 250-word abstract outlining both your object(s) of analysis and your primary argument by October 1, 2017, at (you will be required to create an account). You must use this interface; we cannot accept submissions via email. Please note that each person may only apply to one area at a time; please see the PCA submission guidelines ( for specifics. If you are a first-time presenter in our division (it does not need to be your first time presenting at PCA/ACA), please identify yourself with a note after your abstract. First-time presenters in Mystery & Detective Fiction are eligible for the Earl Bargainnier Award.

To propose a panel, submit individual presentations, then email both area co-chairs with a request to be considered as a panel. This year, PCA/ACA is requiring a minimum of four papers per panel. In your email, name all participants and briefly explain the thematic link between your papers.

About Us: The Mystery & Detective Fiction Area of PCA/ACA is dedicated to promoting the scholarly study of all aspects of mystery and detective fiction. Toward this end, each year we present the Earl Bargainnier Award for best paper by a first-time presenter in the M&D Fiction area and the George N. Dove Award for outstanding contributions to the serious study of crime fiction. In addition to panel presentations on all aspects of mystery and detective fiction, we organize a panel of local mystery authors, as well as formal and informal tours of the host city. We also invite members to participate in a group dinner, making this a truly collegial event. Members are also encouraged to participate in the annual business meeting, where we set the area’s course for the next year, and hold a raffle of fun low-cost items donated by area members.

Contact Info:
Mary P. (Mollie) Freier
Head of Public Services and Professor
Lydia M. Olson Library
Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave.
Marquette, MI 49855
(906) 227-1061

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