Italian Studies Research Seminar Series (Online) | Towards a definition of Mediterranean Crime Fiction
Towards a definition of Mediterranean Crime Fiction
Barbara Pezzotti, Monash University
As Braudel famously argues, the Mediterranean is still today an active crossroad of intercultural transmission (1998). Iain Chambers also suggests that the Mediterranean is an “uprooted geography” articulated in the “diverse currents and complex nodes of both visible and invisible networks”, rather than merely following the “horizontal axis of borders, barriers, and allegedly separated unities” (2008: 68). These arguments consecrate an idea of the Mediterranean as a contemporary complex, diversified and transnational space, as opposed to the coercive exclusion of the “other” which is the key mechanism by which the sovereignty of the nation-state is formulated today. Is this transnational space represented in the crime fiction set around the Mediterranean? And how? While the term “Mediterranean noir” has been used for marketing purposes (often in contraposition with the more successful Scandinavian noir), there is little scholarly work about it. My project entitled “Mediterranean Crime Fiction: Place, Identity and Gender” aims to give a more coherent and stringent definition of what the umbrella term “Mediterranean Noir” may include. I propose a classification where the Mediterranean space is not merely a receptacle for stereotypes about the South (sun, food, passion and violence), but becomes the very essence of this fiction. In other words, the focus is on the Mediterranean Sea as a “site of perpetual transit” characterized by complex and often conflicted identities and where history and ancient cultures still inform the present.
About the speaker
Barbara Pezzotti (PhD Victoria University of Wellington, NZ) is a Lecturer in Italian Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. Her research interests include crime fiction and popular culture, historical narratives, literary geographies and utopian literature. She is the author of The Importance of Place in Contemporary Italian Crime Fiction. A Bloody Journey (FDU Press, 2012); Politics and Society in Italian Crime Fiction. An Historical Overview (McFarland, 2014); and Investigating Italy’s Past through Crime Fiction, Films and TV Series: Murder in the Age of Chaos (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016), and co-editor (with Jean Anderson and Carolina Miranda) of The Foreign in International Crime Fiction: Transcultural Representations (Continuum, 2012); Serial Crime Fiction. Dying for More (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015); and Blood on the Table: Essays on Food in International Crime Fiction (McFarland, 2018).
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