Narratives of Mobility: The Transnational and Transculutral Turn
in European Crime Fiction
Edited by Maurizio Ascari, Silvia Baroni, Sara Casoli
This issue of Scritture migranti (15/2021) aims to investigate a phenomenon that is highly characteristic of contemporary crime fiction on a global level: the representation and thematization of multiculturalism, international mobility, and transcultural identities. Thanks to its transnational circulation and its aptitude to highlight social and political issues throughout the lens of the investigation, crime fiction offers a privileged perspective through which to observe the encounters and the conflicts associated with social and cultural mobility. Moreover, the critical reflections on the connections between social norms and otherness expressed in crime fiction encourage also to take into consideration the mobility of the genre itself in terms of genre-blending.
In particular, we aim at analysing authors and characters whose transnational and multicultural perspective epitomizes an alienating gaze questioning the social norms of hegemonic groups. Describing mobility across national borders and cultural contexts, these figures suggest alternative readings of the society in which they live, and thus reflect on notions such as “cultural identity”, “integration”, and “transnationality”.
On that standpoint, possible case studies include the works of “expatriate writers” (expat), who write their stories in a different language from that spoken by their characters and/or set their stories in a cultural background (that is, a country) where they currently live or have resided, but which is not their country, which is not the background where they belong by birth, language, culture, education and the like. Examples range from the Italian mysteries written by authors of British, American or German origin such as Magdalene Nabb, Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin, or Veit Heinechen, to those written by authors with a migratory background and a non-native cultural origin that have influenced their work, like Lakhdar Belaïd, Sascha Arango, Nadine Buranaseda, Tonino Benacquisto, Susanne Ayoub, Rosa Ribas, Vladimir Hernàndez and more.
Other possible case studies may emphasise the construction of transnational characters. Contemporary European crime fiction features more and more detectives living and operating in multicultural and/or transnational contexts, like Arne Dahl’s Op-Cop Group, Jacob Arjouni’s private detective Kemal Kayankaya and Deputy Commissioner Luca Who, created by Andrea Ciotti. By thematizing the transcultural contexts in which they live within the diegetic universe, these characters allow us to explore the stratified and multicultural fabric of European society.
This issue of Scritture migranti will welcome proposals exploring the ways in which contemporary European crime fiction writers (from 1989) and characters are recast in the role of cultural mediators from a variety of theoretical and critical perspectives, which may include, among others: narratological analyses focused on the aesthetic structure and thematic contents of the texts; studies on the transnational circulation and translation of crime novels; inquiries on the transmedia outputs of the crime narratives dealing with cultural and national mobility issues.
Topics may include (but are not limited to):
The transnational circulation of the works of transcultural writers, in the more general frame of the production, distribution and reception of the crime genre across the European cultural market;
The construction of an European identity and its borders in relation to the narrative space in which the criminal and investigative plots are set and to the mobility of the characters;
How the construction of transcultural characters calls into question racial, cultural and social stereotypes in the representation of narrative as well as socio-cultural mobility in a national context;
The critical and deconstructive potential of the crime genre in bringing out and highlight forms of collective repression connected to socio-cultural mobility and transnational contexts;
The comparison between the definitions and the notions of “expatriate” and “migrant” in relation to specific crime fiction writers and works.
Founded in 2007, Scritture migranti is the first Italian peer-reviewed journal with a strong commitment in international research on Migrant literature.
Scritture migrant is an annual journal that publishes articles in English, French and Italian.
Proposals– title and abstract of 250 words, author’s affiliation and contact (email), personal information – will have to be sent by May 31, 2021 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Acceptance of the proposals will be notified by June 15, 2021.
Final papers of 6000-7000 words will be due no later than October 31, 2021, with publication anticipated in January 2022.