Anna Backman Rogers & Laura Nicholson seek abstracts for their forthcoming edited monograph on the female detective on TV. DEADLINE MARCH 5TH.

Because The Basic Human Form is Female: The female detective in Television. Edited by Anna Backman Rogers and Laura Nicholson.

For decades, the female detective has occupied space within a genre that is all-too-often reserved for the celebratory storylines of self-sacrificial men. She has served to break down sexist barriers placed before women within professional and personal frameworks, acting as an on-screen surrogate for (female) spectators, globally. The female detective has succeeded in cultivating widespread audience attention and high ratings for multiple series across the world, underlining the popularity of, and desire for, the women-led, crime TV genre. It is curious then, that critical literature exploring this central figure’s contemporary, cultural significance is scarce. Given the abundance of on-screen material that has been produced throughout years of prime-time TV and (more recently) online streaming, it seems the female detective, in all her guises, has yet to be afforded the praise and exploration she deserves.

In response to this paucity of critical text, we are assembling the foundations of a special collection on the female detective in crime TV, in the format of a book to be edited by Anna Backman Rogers and Laura Nicholson. The proposal for this research comes just as we are witnessing a cultural ‘boom’ in detective shows featuring women as driving forces, across multiple media platforms. As such, the need for critical literature that explores the feminist realisations and potential of the female detective and her contemporary cultural importance, is timely.

We are calling for papers from scholars across disciplines, in order to shed light on the legacy of the female detective and the ways in which these powerful characters continue to inspire far-reaching audiences, while responding to the socio-political backdrop of their time.

We especially encourage papers from LGBTQ+, Feminist and BME scholars. We also seek contributions from a global perspective that bring to the fore series that we may be unaware of.

We hope to approach a major university publisher with this project after final decisions made by the editors on the collection.

Please send proposals of no more than 600 words to Laura Nicholson and Anna Backman Rogers before March 5th, 2018 at the following e mail addresses. //

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • The intersectional feminism(s) of the female detective
  • Queering the female detective
  • Fashion and the female detective
  • Regionally-specific depictions of the female detective
  • Post-recessionary representations of the female detective
  • The female detective in period TV drama
  • The generational politics of the female detective ‘revamp’
  • The female detective team
  • Cross-cultural imaginings of the female detective
  • Interpretations of the female detective across international remakes
  • Female detective articulations of contemporary cultural flashpoints
  • The portrayal of violence and the female detective.

TV shows with leading female detectives include, but are not limited to:

  • Get Christie Love! (1974-1975, US)
  • Police Woman (1974-1978, US)
  • The Gentle Touch (1980-1984, UK)
  • Cagney & Lacey (1982-1988, US)
  • Miss Marple (1984-1992, UK), Agatha Christie’s Marple (2004-, UK)
  • Prime Suspect (1991-2006, UK)
  • Engrenages/Spiral (2005-, France)
  • Ashes to Ashes (2008-2010, UK)
  • Vera (2011-, UK)
  • Forbrydelsen (2007-2012, Denmark), The Killing (2011-2014, US)
  • Bron/Broen (2011-, Sweden/Denmark), The Tunnel (2013-, UK/France)
  • Scott and Bailey (2011-2016, UK)
  • The Bletchley Circle (2012-2014, UK)
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012-, Australia)
  • The Fall (2013-2016, UK)
  • Top of the Lake (2013-, New Zealand/Australia/UK)
  • Happy Valley (2014-, UK)
  • Quantico (2015-, US)
  • Jessica Jones (2015-, US)
  • Agent Carter (2015-, US)
  • Deep Water (2016, Australia)
  • Frankie Drake Mysteries (2017-, Canada/UK)