NeMLA 2018 Session: Detective Fiction: End of Story?

Maria Plochocki's picture
September 30, 2017
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
Popular Culture Studies, Literature, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Philosophy

NeMLA's 49th Convention will take place April 12-15, 2018, in Pittsburgh, PA. The convention theme is ""Global Spaces, Local Landscapes and Imagined Worlds." The complete Call for Papers is at

I'm convening the above session; here's the description:

The interconnections between narrative and sense-/meaning-making and detective fiction and narrative are well established. In disciplines from the sciences to the humanities to business and law, narrative is used both to contextualize seemingly disconnected facts and even to innovate, for example, though the analysis of case studies to glean new insights, even plan for the future. Perhaps most famously, both Tzvetan Todorov and Peter Brooks, in their Poetics of Prose and Reading for the Plot, respectively, articulate the distinction between plot and story as it applies to detective fiction, with the story being what happened and plot its reconstruction and thus interpretation.

Recent scholarship continues to address this relationship, raising the question of the (renewed) potential of this genre. Since the end of science is also being predicted (by some accounts, such as Michio Kaku’s, it is upon us already), also heralding the end of coherent, measurable intellectual advancement, is narration as sense-/meaning-making activity also moribund? If so, what does this foretell for detective fiction? Do postmodern examples of the genre, which defy neat closures and resolutions, contribute to this development or renew the potential of the genre? Is imagination the new frontier, leaping ahead of logic? What does all this herald for the making, and understanding, of “sense,” even redefining this concept and the role of narrative in same? How are disciplinary boundaries and practices thus affected? Papers speaking to any of these questions, esp. case studies, are sought.

Submit abstracts (due by midnight on 30 Sept.) at Please get in touch with any questions you may have.

Contact Info: 

Maria Plochocki

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