CFP: Detecting common ground – environmental crime fiction in Australia

The crime novel has proven to be fertile ground for the critical treatment of all sorts of social issues (ref). Covering the grey, liminal area between the legal and illegal, the socially and morally acceptable and unacceptable, the genre has proven an apt tool to question uneven socio-political realities and reflect on their accompanying relations of power. Class, race and gender have been successfully addressed in what has become the social novel of the 21st century (cf. crime novelist Dennis Lehane, Estudios Irlandeses/Irish Studies [2012]: 110), and new areas such as ecology have also become the object of writerly interest. The Australian law scholar Justin Dabner (James Cook U) writes that multiculturality and the environment are the two major issues Australian society has to come to terms with in the new millennium (Coolabah 19, Dec 2016) and the latest International Australian Studies Association conference (Reimagining Australia, Perth Dec 2016) insisted on the strategic alliances between ethnicity and the environment, with special mention of Australian Indigeneity. With this volume, we would like to contribute to the forging of an inclusionary environmentalist agenda in Australia.

From the springboard of our state-funded postcolonial crime fiction project POCRIF at the University of Barcelona, we aim for a volume of essays to be published in the Peter Lang Australian Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives series, whose editors have confirmed their interest in our proposal. The volume will investigate the interface of crime fiction, environment and ethnicity as a specifically Australian concern, reflecting on the continent’s fragile habitat and the way it has been affected and damaged by the globalisation of the capitalist production mode and its concomitant flows of capital, labour/people, raw materials and manufactured goods since early colonial times. For more than 200 years of Western colonisation, Australia’s ecological balance has been severely undermined by harmful, exploitative forms of Western land management in agriculture, city planning, mining etc., in which the white mainstream has used the nation-state’s legislative and executive powers to secure almost exclusive, long-standing access to vital resources, not only barring the Aborigines but also other non-white minorities, the so-called New Settlers. We aim to analyse to what extent Australian crime fiction has engaged with the eco-crime scenario and if so, in assimilative or subversive ways. Contributions will address mainstream and non-mainstream crime fiction in Australian settings that engages with this theme in the broadest sense possible.

Please send 250-word proposals for articles up to 8,000 word articles including an abstract, five keywords and a bibliography to Martin Renes (mrenes@ub.edu) and Bill Phillips (billphillips@ub.edu) by 1 May 2017. Confirmation of acceptance will be sent out within a month after this deadline, and draft versions of papers will be due by 1 September 2017.