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Marking and remarking
Editors: Kate Watson and Katharine Cox

Tattoos in crime and detective narratives: Marking and remarking examines representations of the tattoo and tattooing in literature, television and film, from two periods of tattoo renaissance (1851–1914, and around 1955 to the present). The collection reads tattoos and associated scarification, such as branding, as mimetic devices that mark and remark crime and detective narratives in complex ways. The chapters utilise a variety of critical perspectives drawn from posthumanism, spatiality, postcolonialism, embodiment and gender studies to read the tattoo as individual and community bodily narratives. The collection develops its focus from the first tattoo renaissance and considers the rebirth of the tattoo in contemporary culture through literature, children's literature, film and television. This book has a broad appeal and will be of interest to all literature and media scholars and, in particular, those with an interest in crime and detective narratives and skin studies.

Marking women and nonhuman animals
Kate Watson and Rebekah Humphreys

This interdisciplinary chapter provides a literary reading and philosophical analyses of issues surrounding the depiction of women and of nonhuman animals in a subgenre of contemporary crime narratives – what this chapter terms ‘killing floor’ crime fiction. This is achieved through a focus on the function of the tattoo, ‘markings’ in a broad sense (both metaphorically and physically) and the gendered elements of animal representations in crime fiction. Through an analysis of the significance of marking skin, the chapter links the exploitation and objectification of the bodies of women and of nonhuman animals. In doing so, it compares the use of animals in modern-day killing floor practices and the position of women in contemporary crime fiction. Through forcible marking and scarification, this chapter raises pertinent interrelated ethical issues concerning the perceptions of women, their societal status and the commercial use of nonhuman animals.

in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives
Abstract only
Katharine Cox and Kate Watson

The introduction establishes the theoretical concept of remarking drawing on Jacques Derrida’s theories of the simultaneous act of difference and communality in writing (re-marking), before defining the tattoo and historical methods of tattooing. Reading the tattoo as simultaneously under and over-coded, the chapters argue that the tattoo has a meta, self-reflective and subversive function within the crime and detective genre itself. The introduction positions the collection’s approach to tattooing through a mini-literature review considering contemporary sociological, anthropological and historical responses. Tattoos offer complex articulations of place, gender, animal ethics, rule of law, violence, trauma, art, race and narrative. By responding to the sheer diversity of critical approaches that focus on the body and narrative – including, but not limited to, posthumanism, spatiality, postcolonialism, embodiment and gender studies, culminating in an interdisciplinary skin studies – the chapters demonstrate how the tattoo speaks. It is a complex story.

in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives