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Carnal Crimes: Sex and Sex Crime Narratives in Literature and the Arts

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A conference adressing popular fascination with sexual murder and how the construction of sexuality has eroticized violence, power and death

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This conference aims to address the tropes generated by the popular fascination with sexual murder and discuss how the construction of sexuality has eroticized violence, power and death through crime fiction and other popular narratives on artistic and cultural platforms.

It is clear from the covers of the pulp fictions of the 1950s that the genre has often used sex and violence to titillate and to sell. Contemporary literature and art are equally obsessed with sex and violence, particularly against women. Also, today, the discourses of many narratives of sex and sex crimes destabilise socially constructed notions of sexual identities and provide alternative views on them. In turn, contemporary cultural outputs on/of sex/crime often reflect upon the multiple nature of sexual identities, sexual cultures and sexual struggles.

Here are some of the questions we would like the conference to raise:

How are today’s sexual politics expressed in crime narratives?

Are phallocentricity or misogyny still rife in crime narratives?

Are contemporary representations of sex and sexual violence more nuanced and less exploitative than before?

How effectively do contemporary crime narratives dismantle binary or accommodate non-binary and queer sexual identities?

How do crime narratives shape our interpretation of phallocentric violence or sexual and gender-based violence, such as femicide for instance?

How do current social developments of gender-related migrancies or sex trafficking inform new genres such as necropornography or narcofiction?

In order to answer these questions, papers addressing any of the suggested themes below (or any other relevant theme) are welcome:

Gender, sexuality and agency; gender, sexuality and victimhood; gendered space(s); sexual violence and revenge narratives; the ethics of representations of sexual violence; human trafficking; queer detectives; desire and disability; representations of trans and non-binary identities; femme fatales; sexual abuse and trauma; sex, sexual abuse and memory; femicide.

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