The Forensic Supernatural: Knowledge, the Supernatural and the Psychic Detective

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The recent spate of film, television and popular-literary texts focussing on the ghostly and the supernatural invites the question: why this? And why now? Moreover, the form that such narratives often take closely resembles, if indeed is not identical with, the detective story. Such narratives include Medium, Psychic Detectives and The Ghost Whisperer; moreover, TV series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, movies such as the Harry Potter series, and romanticised and often humorised vampire novels such as MaryJanice Davidson’s and Charlaine Harris’ series often draw on the trope of the detective summoned to investigate a mystery of some kind.
This paper investigates this particular formulation of the supernatural tale in terms of its historical provenance, and in relation to recent historical events which may have shaped its contemporary manifestation.


Keywords: Supernatural, Psychic, Detective, Film, Television, Popular Literature, Popular Culture
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. David Buchbinder

Professor, Humanities, Curtin University of Technology
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Professor David Buchbinder holds a Personal Chair in Masculinities Studies in the Faculty of Media, Society & Culture, Division of Humanities, at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia, where he teaches in the areas of literary and cultural studies. He has published widely in journals and magazines, examining and exploring, among others, theory and poetry, semiotics, novels and opera. His chief work, however, has been in the area of masculinities studies, where, focusing on the cultural representations, across various genres and media, of men, masculinities and male sexualities, he has published two books, Masculinities and Identities (1994) and Performance Anxieties: Re-presenting Men (1998), as well as numerous articles in this field. He has edited a collection of undergraduate essays on masculinity (Essays in Masculinities Studies 2002; and has begun work on a third book on masculinity, provisionally titled Malestrom: Masculinity at the Abyss. He is currently the tertiary sector representative on the State committee overseeing change in the secondary Literature curriculum.

Dr Ann Elizabeth McGuire

Senior Lecturer, Creative Industries, Curtin University of Technology
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


Ref: H08P0142