Edited by: Brett A.B. Robinson (Brock University) and Dr. Christine Daigle (Brock University)

Since 9/11 there has been a significant increase in narratives dealing with serial killers in popular television. Series about serial killers such as Showtime’s Dexter (2006-2013), NBC’s Hannibal (2013-2015), A&E’s Bates Motel (2013-2017), Fox’s The Following (2013-2015), BBC’s The Fall (2013-), and Netflix’s Mindhunter (2017-) have all received critical acclaim and garnered large fanbases. What is it about serial killers that has attracted audiences to incite such a boom in these types of narratives on television? Clearly the serial format of television programming is uniquely suited for the presentation of these characters’ modus operandi, but why has television proven to be such a fertile ground for serial killer narratives in post-9/11 popular culture? The narrative content and discourse of this kind of television programming has resulted in viewers developing a strong admiration for serial killer characters, which has seemed to produce a morbid identification with them. This potentially indicates a growing understanding of serial killers as in some unsettling way uniquely human in their psychological condition and philosophical worldview rather than simply unredeemingly inhuman. What is it about serial killers that make these characters deeply enlightening representations of the human condition that, although horrifically deviant, reflect complex elements of the human psyche? Why are serial killers so intellectually fascinating to audiences? We invite scholars from any field who are interested in this subject to submit paper proposals of no longer than 500 words on topics related to serial killers on television in post-9/11 popular culture.

Possible topics and case studies include but are not limited to:

  • Series such as DexterHannibalBates MotelThe FollowingThe FallMindhunterTrue DetectiveThe Killing,AquariusCriminal Minds, etc.
  • Documentaries and news coverage of serial killers in popular media
  • The popularity of serial killer narratives and how they relate to the cultural psyche in post-9/11 United States
  • The impact of 9/11 on the audience’s need for such narratives about “familiar monsters”
  • The commonalities to be found between different serial killer narratives during this period

Submit Paper Proposals to cdaigle@brocku.ca and brett.robinson@brocku.ca by January 17, 2020. Requests for Full Papers will be sent out by February 5, 2020. First Drafts of papers will be due June 30, 2020.