Sunny Places for Shady People: The Mexican Post-Policiaco in the 21st Century

Joseph Towle's picture
Call for Papers
November 1, 2017
Minnesota, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Literature, Mexican History / Studies, Spanish and Portuguese History / Studies

Call for Chapters for a Collected Edition

This is an open call to invite papers for an edited volume with the preliminary title:

Sunny Places for Shady People: Mexican Post-Policiaco in the 21st Century

There has been an explosion of the post-policiaco novel in Mexico since its founding moment with the publication of Muertos incómodos (2005) by Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Subcomandante Marcos and Tiempo de alacranes (2005) by Bernardo Fernández (Bef). I aim to expand research into this emerging genre being produced by a current generation of writers (many born after 1968) who are presently transforming, subverting, and regenerating Mexican novela negra.

This collection will pay critical attention to post-policiaco narratives as they move beyond the neopoliciaco by continuing to adapt formulaic devices of the genre, turn away from its normative structures, and being a site where various genres and subgenres intersect. I ask contributors to examine a corpus of writing by the following authors: Francisco Haghenbeck, Bernardo Fernández (Bef), Hilario Peña, Carlos R. Padilla Díaz, Imanol Caneyada, Élmer Mendoza, Jorge Zepeda Patterson, Daniel Salinas Basave, Bernardo Esquinca, Iris Cuevas García, Yuri Herrea, Martín Solares, Juan Pablo Villalobos, and Subcomandante Marcos (Galeano); all authors who position their narratives in a reality that is often times familiar but have adapted them to reflect social realties of the place from which they are produced in order to critique, describe, and understand what individuals experience on a daily basis within Mexican society. Preference will be given, but not limited to, submissions focusing on their works.

I am open to all approaches and research philosophies and seek to incorporate chapters that focus on any of my descriptions of the Mexican post-policiaco (2005-2017) with its distinct anxieties and characteristics that merit further investigation: 1) A Moveable Center: the crime, the detective, the plot, etc. is no longer set in Mexico City but throughout greater Mexico and beyond national borders; 2) Everyday Violence: Activists and Journalists working as “detectives” are present in a number of lived experiences as well as in fictional narratives, often times these authors are or were journalists themselves before turning to la novela negra; and 3) Humor negro: Jokes, auto-critique, making light of dark and sinister situations.

The purpose is to form a proposal for a book with 10-14 chapters, each chapter being approximately 5000-7000 words including references. This is a call for abstracts in English or Spanish of 300-400 words, in Word or PDF, clearly marked with author’s contact information. Send the details of your contribution via E-mail to by November 1, 2017. The deadline for submitting completed chapters will depend on approval of the proposal.

Note: Authors selected for the volume will be asked to provide passages from the works they have chosen as the focus of their essays that give detailed descriptions of a main protagonist(s), an antagonist(s), a detective(s), or a journalist(s). The examples from the texts will be sent to the graphic artist, El Netox ( ), so that each essay will be accompanied by the artist’s visual rendition of each character.

Joseph M. Towle, Augsburg University

Associate Professor of Languages and Cross-Cultural Studies


List of References

Braham, Persephone. Crimes Against the State, Crimes Against Persons: Detective Fiction in Cuba and Mexico. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

Close, Glen. Contemporary Hispanic Crime Fiction: A Transatlantic Discourse on Urban Violence. New York: Palgrave, 2008.

México Noir: Antología de Relato Criminal. Ed. Iván Farías. Mexico, D.F.: Nitro/Press, 2016.

Ortiz, Joserra, Ed. El Complot Anticanónico: Ensayos Sobre Rafael Bernal. México, D.F.: Programa Cultural Tierra Adentro, Fondo Editorial, 2015.

Paul, Marcie. “The Search for Identity: The Return to Analytic Detective Fiction in Mexico.” Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Detective Fiction: Essays on the Género Negro Tradition. Eds. Renée W. Craig-Odders, et al. Jefferson, N.C.: Macfarland & Co., Inc, 2006. 180-203.

Sánchez, Fernando Fabio. Artful Assassins: Murder as Art in Modern Mexico. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2010.

Simpson, Amelia S. Detective Fiction from Latin America. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1990.

Stavans, Ilan. Antihéroes: México y su novela detectivesca. México: Joaquín Mortiz, 1993.

Trujillo Muñoz, Gabriel. Testigos de cargo. Tijuana: Centro Cultural Tijuana, 2000.

Torres, Vicente Francisco. Muertos de papel: Un paseo por la narrativa policial mexicana. México: CNCA/Sello Bermejo, 2003.




Contact Info: 

Joseph M. Towle

Associate Professor

Augsburg University, Department of Languages and Cross-Cultural Studies

Old Main 200C, 2211 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55454   USA


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