Angel of Newness

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					  Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies
                            Vol. 38 | No. 1 | March 2012

                        Call for Papers
                   Deadline for Submissions: August 15, 2011

                  “Mise-en-Scène: Crime”
In the beginning was murder. Then came drama: the hair-tearing (or eye-gouging)
discovery of one’s own overweening hubris, the inconsolable grieving over the loss of
the most basic sense of humanity, and, simply, more killing. Indeed, murderers are
significant figures in what Erich Auerbach would call “scenes of drama from European
literature”: Cain, Oedipus, Medea, the parricides in Dante’s inferno, Shakespeare’s
army of villains. Acts of killing in these literary texts not only contribute to the
excitement of the drama, but also make imperative a rethinking of social order, justice,
morality, state power, and human-God relations.

Alongside writers, philosophers have also long relied on scenes of crime to ground their
reflections on humanity. René Girard believes that sacrifice was needed for the release
of pent-up social violence. Georges Bataille sees community as “founded in the act of
killing, in the rupturing of separate existence” (Fred Botting & Scott Wilson). Hegel,
Jacques Lacan, and Judith Butler ponder the limit of norms and the viability of ethical
claims through the figure of Antigone. Giorgio Agamben posits the figure of the homo
sacer or sacred man (he “who may be killed and yet not sacrificed”) to illustrate the
threshold being qua bare life, challenging traditional assumptions behind the concept of
sovereignty; Agamben even goes so far as to read the concentration camp, an extreme
instance of political crime for many, as the paradigm of modern biopolitics. For Michel
Foucault, the Panopticon prison system initiated a new dimension in the modern
modality of power, whereas the household mass murder case of Pierre Rivière in the
year of 1835 was the setting in which numerous contemporary discourses (medical,
juridical, historiographic) intersected with and confronted one another.

Crime scenes continue to figure prominently in our time, oftentimes in a larger-than-life
fashion. The Guantanamo Bay detention and torture of war prisoners stands as an
infamous example of sovereignty unbound by law; it makes one wonder if, in the wake
of the 9/11 incident, we must always think of crime in the context of globalization and
even vice versa. In pop culture, cannibalistic serial killers are ranked among the most

fascinating, if not also the smartest, filmic characters. Prime-time “crime scene
investigation” drama series are introducing a new truth regime based on a highly
empirical forensic science and criminal psychology. And the virtual world of online
games is to a great extent built on the participant’s imaginary enactment of the role of
the criminal or crime buster.

Various thinkers, then, have resorted to the motif or instance of crime as the
mise-en-scène wherein to theorize a certain issue. Central to such inquiries is the
conception of community: what is allowed and what is not when one lives in relation to
others? What acts are considered crimes or not crimes if a community is to function
properly? Where does law begin? Does it end somewhere, anywhere? What is the line
between crime and sin, between the human law and the divine law?

For this special issue, we invite submissions that investigate the “crime scene” in
theoretical discourses. For instance, how are the following issues dealt with in different
theorists, by way of the figure of crime—limit, transgression, power, knowledge, life,
and ethics? On the stage of today’s worldwide power struggle, is “crime” being
redefined thanks to the rise of an inescapably interconnected globe?

We also welcome works that research the genres of crime fiction, crime film, and crime
drama in a refreshing light. For example, is the bespectacled detective giving way to the
white-robed forensic scientist as the new hero of the social order? Can we read the
boom in plots based on crime scene investigation and criminal profiling as an indicator
or “symptom” of a rational turn in our time? Why is the corpse of the victim
increasingly being presented as a familiar, approachable object in these TV and filmic
dramas? What kind of repetition compulsion may be at play in the reception of these

Any discussions of the “scene of the crime” in relation to literary, dramatic or cinematic
works, their characters, plots, images, symbols and ideas, will also be welcome.

Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies                       is a peer-reviewed
English-language journal devoted to offering innovative perspectives on literary
and cultural issues. A premier journal in its field in Taiwan, Concentric boasts a
strong editorial and advisory team that consists of scholars from across the

Concentric invites submissions related to the special issue topic, and also
welcomes papers on general topics. The focus can be on any historical period
and any region. Any critical approach may be employed so long as the paper
demonstrates a distinctive contribution to scholarship in the given field.

Manuscript Submission Guidelines

1.   Manuscripts should be submitted in English. Please send the manuscript, a
     300-word abstract, 5-6 keywords, and a vita as Word-attachments to
     <>. Alternatively, please mail us two hard
     copies and an IBM-compatible diskette copy. Concentric will acknowledge
     receipt of the submission but will not return it after review. Articles should
     generally be 6,000-10,000 words in length.

2.   Manuscripts should be prepared according to the latest edition of the MLA
     Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Except for footnotes, which
     should be single-spaced, manuscripts must be double-spaced and typeset
     in 12-point Times New Roman.

3.   To facilitate the journal’s anonymous refereeing process, there must be no
     indication of personal identity or institutional affiliation in the manuscript
     proper. The author may cite his/her previous works, but only in the third

4.   Please attach or enclose a cover letter stating that the manuscript is not
     currently being considered for publication elsewhere.

5.   If the paper has been published or submitted elsewhere in a language other
     than English, please also submit a copy of the non-English version.
     Concentric may not consider submissions already available in other

6.   One copy of the journal and fifteen off-prints of the article will be provided to
     the author(s) on publication.

7.   It is the journal’s policy to require all authors to sign an assignment of
     copyright form.

For submissions or general inquiries, you may contact us as follows:

Editor, Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies
Department of English
National Taiwan Normal University
162 Heping East Road, Section 1
Taipei 106

Phone: 886-2-77341803
Fax: 886-2-23634793


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