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Hot Commodities: Consuming Crime in the 20th and 21st Century (Northeast Modern Language Association's 51st Annual Convention)

Boston, MA
Organization: NEMLA
Event: Northeast Modern Language Association's 51st Annual Convention
Categories: Comparative, Popular Culture, Women's Studies, 20th & 21st Century, 20th & 21st Century, Comics & Graphic Novels, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, History, Philosophy, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2020-03-05 to 2020-03-08 Abstract Due: 2019-09-30

The entertainment industry has produced an onslaught of true crime media. It began with This American Life's podcast Serial and Netflix’s Making a Murderer. Each show focused on an individual murderer and whether or not their conviction was warranted. These series ignited interest in true crime media and a slew of shows followed in their wake. In the last four years alone, This American Life produced two more seasons of Serial and Netflix produced a second season of Making a Murder, the FBI drama Mindhunter, and Conversations with a Serial Killer, a Ted Bundy docuseries. In addition to new true crime dramas, old ones are returning. Netflix is resurrecting Abducted in Plain Sight, Hulu is offering Forensic Files, and Amazon Prime is streaming Unsolved Mysteries.

Clearly, murder sells. But why is it such a hot commodity? This panel seeks to investigate this question through two lines of inquiry. First, how are murderers figured in contemporary media and culture? Mark Seltzer positions the serial killer as a celebrity figure while Richard Tithecott positions him as a troubling Other, a figure who we depict as being monstrously different than ourselves, but who nonetheless possesses shocking similarities.

Second, what are the ethics of producing and consuming murder-based media? When we read, watch, or listen to tales about murder, what is the focus? And who is the focus? Which figures stand at the foreground of the story? Which figures are pushed into the background and forgotten or erased?

Please submit a 200-300 word abstract alongside a brief bio by September 30, 2019 through the NeMLA submission page: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP


For further information, please contact: Ashley Wilcox (ashley.wilcox@tufts.edu)


Ashley Wilcox