Postcolonial and Transnational Crime Fiction

Call for Papers

The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies (published by Routledge from 2016)

Special Issue – Postcolonial and Transnational Crime Fiction

Since the nineteenth century crime fiction has provided a space for authors to comment on colonial relations, the iniquities of colonialism, and the aberrations of colonial systems of law enforcement and justice.  The complex legacy of colonialism in contemporary times continues to be explored in transnational crime fiction.  This special issue aims to showcase the latest scholarship on postcolonial and transnational crime fiction in which the following questions are raised and answered:

  • How has the genre of crime fiction, and its many sub-genres, been adapted, transformed, re-imagined and subverted by postcolonial and transnational crime fiction texts?
  • How does postcolonial and transnational crime fiction investigate colonial and neo-colonial power dynamics, structures of authority, notions of justice and law enforcement?
  • What specific cultural and socio-political contexts are examined in these texts?
  • How is this literature published, marketed and distributed?  Who are the primary readers of postcolonial and transnational crime fiction?

Postcolonial and transnational crime fiction has developed into a cogent framework for narrating the complexities of identity, citizenship, and justice in a globalised, postcolonial world, as Nels Pearson and Marc Singer demonstrated in Detective Fiction in a Postcolonial and Transnational World (2009). This special issue intends to extend the work pioneered in this seminal text, and in works such as Postcolonial Postmortems: Crime Fiction from a Transcultural Perspective (2006) by Christine Matzke and Susanne Mühleisen, Crime and Empire (2003) by Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, and Detecting the Nation (2004) by Caroline Reitz.

The questions above and the following topics are guidelines for contributors and are therefore not restrictive.

  • Crime fiction and Empire – nineteenth century crime and detective fiction and its inextricable link with the imperial enterprise
  • Golden Age crime fiction and twentieth century attitudes to colonialism in the anti-colonial era
  • The diversification of crime fiction in the late twentieth century, the rise of the postcolonial crime novel and the examination of postcolonial societies through the lens of the crime novel
  • Narratives of the nation/state in postcolonial and transnational crime fiction
  • Transnational crime fiction in the twenty-first century: community; beliefs; epistemologies; identity formation across national boundaries
  • Cultural translation, transcultural interpretation, and issues of migration and diaspora
  • Re-visiting issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class and sexuality in contemporary postcolonial and transnational crime fiction
  • Readers and the function of social analysis performed by these texts

Deadline for abstracts [300 words] and contributors’ biographies [100 words]: 30 April 2015

Deadline for complete papers [6000-8000 words]: 30 June 2015

Please look at the submission guidelines:

Send all queries and/or abstracts and 100 word biographies by 30 April 2015 to:

Guest Editor

Prof Sam Naidu

Department of English

Rhodes University

South Africa


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