True Crime: Fact, Fiction, Ideology

True Crime – Call For Papers

hic dragonesManchester, United Kingdom
    Saturday 7th June 2014

Keynote lecture: ‘The Moors Murders and the “Truth” of True Crime’, David Schmid (University at Buffalo, SUNY), author of Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

True-CrimeAs Mark Seltzer notes, ‘true crime is crime fact that looks like crime fiction’, a popular genre that is obsessed with real-life murder and extreme acts of criminal deviance. Emerging as a genre in magazines of the mid-twentieth century such as True Detective Magazine, and drawing on earlier discourses of confession, memoir and speculation, true crime first received attention as a form of literature with the publication of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (1966). It has since diversified into a variety of other media, from television series such as Neil McKay’s Appropriate Adult (2011) to Hollywood films about famous works of the genre, such as David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007). In recent horror-crime fiction and film, such as Adam Nevill’s Last Days (2012) and Scott Derrickson’s Sinister (2012), the act of writing and filming true crime is presented as ensnaring its creators in the gruesome worlds they seek to capture. While its adherence to orthodox law and order perspectives, typified by a tendency to present offenders as monstrous and evil, may seem to position true crime as a conservative genre, its fascination with the lives and minds of serial killers can sometimes lend it a transgressive quality.

True Crime: Fact, Fiction, Ideology is an interdisciplinary conference seeking to explore this genre in its myriad incarnations.  The programme is now online at http://www.hic-dragones.co.uk/true-crime-programme/

PROGRAMME:  True Crime: Fact, Fiction, Ideology

Saturday 7 June 2014

Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom

Programme

9.00-9.30 Registration

9.30-11.00 Panel 1: Depicting Taboo Crimes
Chair: Hannah Priest

Karen Oughton (Regents University London): Deliciously Deranged: Depicting the Raison d’être of Jeffrey Dahmer as a Celebrity Serial Killer

Jacquelyn Bent (University of Huddersfield): What Constitutes a ‘Taboo’?: Cultural, Societal and Legal Standards for the Identification of Taboo Acts Including Taboo Crime

David McWilliam (Lancaster University): Without Conscience: Re-opening Old Wounds to Pass the Empathy Test in Dave Cullen’s Columbine (2009)

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-1.00 Panel 2: Generic Boundaries and Conventions
Chair: tbc

Carys Crossen (University of Manchester): Invoke Not Reason: Defining the Parameters of True Crime in the Case of Jack the Ripper

Charlotte Beyer (University of Gloucestershire): ‘Angel Makers’: Recent True Crime Stories of Baby Farming

Maysaa Jaber (University of Baghdad): Crime Culture of Monstrosity: The Cold War, Paranoia and the Psychopathy in Post-war Crime Fiction

Abby Bentham (University of Salford): Cold Blood, Warm Heart: Truman Capote and the Transformation of the Psychopath

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-3.30 Keynote Lecture
Chair: David McWilliam

David Schmid (University at Buffalo, State University of New York): ‘The Moors Murders and the “Truth” of True Crime’

3.30-4.00 Coffee

4.00-5.30 Panel 3: Place, History, Communities
Chair: tbc

John David Jordan (Manchester Metropolitan University): Real Life Crimes, Council Estate Dramas and Proleaphobia: How ‘Socio-Chthonic Mythologies’ Serve the Neoliberal Welfare Agenda

Martyn Colebrook (Independent Scholar): ‘Do what you want, just don’t get caught doing it’ – Gordon Burn’s Happy Like Murderers

Henrietta Phillips (University of Birmingham): ‘Digging Up Your Fiction’: Place, Intertext and the Raw Materials of History in Neil McKay’s True Crime Television

5.30 Conference Close