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Policing Revolutions

Policing in England underwent massive formal and ideological changes in the period between 1880 and 1921. These included the introduction of a plain-clothes detective service, the modernization of police methods and training, and the development of a “Special Branch” within the Metropolitan police to deal with the perceived threat posed by continental and home-grown anarchists, Home Rule bombings, and women’s suffrage agitation before the war, as well as the demands made by foreign governments on the Metropolitan police’s resources. Likewise, the years immediately preceding World War I saw significant de facto expansions of police power and the beginning of the first clandestine police service in England proper, MI5. Simultaneously, this period also saw an increased interest in writing by and about detectives, beginning with Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and culminating in a spate of memoirs written by former detectives in the late 20s and early 30s. This panel proposes to examine the relationship between the revolution in policing methodologies and representations of policing during this period.

Possible topics include:
• Representations of policing in fiction
• Policing as a topic of public and/or parliamentary debate
• Policing and mass political movements
• Policing Home Rule activism in England
• Policing and protest
• The detective memoir as a genre
• Political movements in the detective memoir
• The influence of policing in/of the Empire on policing “at home” in England
• Theorizing the policeman/British policing as biopolitics
• Policing and class
• Policing and gender
• Englishness, the role of the “political police” and/or resistance to “the French model” in public debates surrounding detective work
• The bobby in the popular imagination

Please send abstracts of 200-250 words and a short bio to Steph Brown ( by April 16.

Conference Location: Boston, US
Conference Starts: November 19, 2015
Conference Ends: November 22, 2015

CFP Submission Deadline: April 16, 2015

For more information, contact: Steph Brown