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TRUECRIME 2021 : True Crime: An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference


When May 22, 2021 - May 22, 2021
Where Online
Submission Deadline Feb 26, 2021
Notification Due Mar 12, 2021
Categories    crime   literature   media studies   pop culture

Call For Papers

True Crime
A Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

Saturday 22nd May 2021

Humankind has long been fascinated with accounts of crimes and criminals. Our oldest texts are littered with narratives about wrongdoing, from the Bible to the Arabi Nisollasaya and beyond. Stories about real cases – with real victims and real perpetrators – are just as riveting, as evidenced by the crime pamphlets of the 16th-century, 17th-century chap books and murder ballads, and the mass street literature sold at public executions in the Victorian era.
The public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for gore, misery and retribution is undiminished today. True crime regularly tops poll as one of the most popular literary genres and it often focuses on the worst of humanity: murderers, necrophiles, cannibals, and the like. Only a small percentage of the world’s murders are committed by serial killers, yet approximately 40% of true crime books focus on serial murder, often promising a glimpse into the mind of fiends such as Ted Bundy, Andrei Chikatilo and Myra Hindley. Although generally considered to be ‘low culture’, salacious and disreputable, true crime narratives have also garnered critical plaudits, with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood becoming a classic of American literature and Normal Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. In recent years, true crime has entered a golden age, with emerging media forms bringing it into the mainstream. Podcasts like Sarah Koenig’s Serial and streaming documentary series, such as Andrew Jarecki’s The Jinx and Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi’s Making a Murderer, have challenged convictions, uncovered new evidence and in some cases even impacted judicial processes.

True crime’s focus has also shifted; salacious retellings of serial murders have been replaced by thoughtful examinations of neglected cold cases, and righteous opposition to corrupt and prejudiced institutions. The reader, viewer or listener of such narratives has also been transformed from a passive consumer of other people’s misery to something much more self-aware and critical, at times, even crossing over into an active detective role, as evidenced by the dedicated teams of amateur sleuths working in Reddit subs and Facebook groups on cases such as the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik.

Against this backdrop, our True Crime conference will explore the popularity of true crime, past and present, considering how these stories expose deeper societal issues and tensions. We will examine the links between real crimes and crime fiction, how one feeds into the other with sometimes horrifying consequences; and examine the moral landscape of true crime, including its potential to re-traumatise survivors, victims’ families and witnesses.

Key Topics
From the full range of disciplinary, professional and social perspectives, our focus will rest on all stakeholders in the true crime landscape, from real-life offenders and victims, to law enforcement, the judiciary, probation services, reporters, and the writers, filmmakers and consumers of true crime narratives. The aim is to generate inclusive dialogues involving researchers, practitioners, artists, activists, legal professionals, clinicians, social workers, probation officers, representatives from the voluntary sector, individuals whose lives have been impacted by true crime and others with an interest in the field with a view to to forming a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.. We particularly welcome creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations, and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate.

Topics for discussion include, but are not restricted to:

~ the true crime industry;
~ the popularity of true crime television series and podcasts;
~ the ‘Netflix effect’;
~ international and transnational perspectives on, and variations in, true crime;
~ the morality and ethics of true crime;
~ legal and judicial process;
~ the politics of true crime;
~ true crime and psychology;
~ miscarriages of justice;
~ neoliberalism, social breakdown, mistrust of elites;
~ institutional racism, sexism and other prejudices;
~ true crime and gender (perpetrators, victims, consumers, producers);
~ the democratisation of the genre;
~ the historical trajectory of true crime;
~ street ballads, broadsides, penny dreadfuls, the Newgate Chronicles;
~ true crime and music;
~ new journalism and the non-fiction novel;
~ how accounts of crimes, past and present, reveal societal mores and attitudes;
~ balanced reporting vs. sensationalism – true crime and the news media;
~ the poetics of true crime;
~ Reddit subs, Facebook groups and amateur sleuthing;
~ focalising true crime, from inside the mind of the murderer to victim-centred perspectives;
~ the science of true crime – DNA profiling, fibre analysis, forensic topology, etc.;
~ audience participation in true crime narratives;
~ the impact of multi-media on true crime;
~ the valorisation of the serial killer;
~ victimology;
~ cold cases;
~ Fandom – ‘murder clubs’, reading groups, online forums;
~ the future of true crime.

What To Send
The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, problem-solving sessions, case studies, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate are particularly encouraged. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.

At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainable inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops, publications, public interest days, associations, developing courses etc which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the meeting. There is an intention, subject to the discussions which emerge during the course of the meeting, to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 26th February 2021. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chairs.

All submissions will be at least double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team, The Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 12th March 2021.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) type of proposal e.g. paper presentation, workshop, panel, film, performance, etc, f) body of proposal, g) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: True Crime Submission

Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs and the Project Administrator:

Abby Bentham:
Dean Jobb:
Len Capuli (Project Administrator):

What's so Special About a Progressive Connexions Event?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format: at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashioned conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
A chance to network with international professionals: the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.
A chance to be part of constructing change: There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.
An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you: Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field â?? what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.
An unforgettable experience: When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.
Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.
Please send all enquiries to:
For further details and information please visit the conference web page:
Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions

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