I am looking for contributors for a panel for the annual American Studies Conference, to be held in San Antonio, TX, November 18-21, 2010. The panel is entitled "The Origins of Random, Serial Crime." The 1870s-1890s saw the emergence of the modern-day serial killer—most infamously Jack the Ripper in London and Herman Mudgett in Chicago. This panel will explore the origins of repetitive, anonymous, serial murder, asking, among other questions, why such crimes blossomed, seemingly unprecedented, in the industrializing urban centers of the late nineteenth century. Are such crimes indeed the product of a particular time and place, or can the case be made that they have always been around in some form or another? How did nineteenth-century Americans explain these random and inexplicable crimes? I’m interested in any kind of “origin” story, including originary cases (real or fictional), narratives of the biological, psychological, or sociological origins of random, serial crimes, and comparisons of the originary stories of the nineteenth century with those of today. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and brief cv by January 18. Email inquiries are welcome at any time. Send all abstracts and queries to Dawn Keetley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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