CFP: Special Issue of The Journal of Popular Culture on Space, Place, and the Detective Narrative

Kurt Milberger's picture
Call for Papers
January 1, 2020
United States
Subject Fields: 
Popular Culture Studies, Literature, Law and Legal History, Humanities, Film and Film History

Special issue title: Place, Space, and the Detective Narrative
Issue editors: Dr. Malcah Effron (MIT) and Dr. Nicole Kenley (Baylor University)


The complex actions that transpire in transnational geopolitical spaces, including but not limited to issues of migration, reconfiguration of borders, the (d)evolution of trade alliances, and wars on terror, continue to complicate twentieth-century grand narratives of nationalism. The crime genre concerns itself with these complications, and the detective narrative traditionally explores the preservation and violation of the societal borders that circumscribe these issues and the nations involved. However, much scholarship on crime fiction—e.g. John Cawelti (1977) to Lee Horsley (2005)—has critiqued the genre for upholding the status quo with its focus on the preservation of established borders; for example, such scholarship tends to argue that working within a legal system inherently maintains a preexisting social order.


As scholarship on crime fiction attends to the violations of societal borders illustrated in detective fiction, scholars must grapple with popular culture’s attitudes toward national, transnational, and global issues. For its special issue on “Place, Space, and the Detective Narrative,” The Journal of Popular Culture seeks articles that explore how depictions of place and/or space in detective narratives engage with these complicated contexts. We are especially interested in arguments that challenge the established scholarly narrative of crime fiction’s role in upholding the political status quo. Proposed topics may address, but are not limited to:


Detective Fiction and the Global City

Detectives, Borders, and Migrations

Time and Place

Regional Crime Narratives

Maps in/and Crime Narratives

Crime Narratives and Literary Tourism

Settings in Crime Narrative

Location-specific social issues in crime narrative

Geography and/or Crime Narrative

Locked-Room Mysteries

Politics of Place

Psychogeography and crime

Chronotopes of Crime

Crime on Location


Articles may come from any disciplinary or interdisciplinary practice. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to both Malcah Effron (meffron”at” and Nicole Kenley (Nicole_Kenley”at” no later than Jan 1, 2020. Requests for manuscripts will be sent by March 1, 2020, and manuscripts (5000-7500 words) will be expected by June 1, 2020. Visit for the journal’s submission and style guidelines. Please contact either Malcah Effron (meffron”at” or Nicole Kenley (Nicole_Kenley”at” with any questions about the call.

Contact Info: 

Malcah Effron: meffron"at"

Nicole Kenley: nicole_kenley"at"