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From Hell to Whitechapel: hauntology, crime and the construction of place

Fri, Nov 18, 11:00am to 12:20pm, Hilton, Grand Ballroom B, 1st Level


Using Derrida’s notion of hauntology, this paper will examine the role that crime plays in the construction of place. Drawing upon examples from disciplinary soundscapes to occult/ed places, from the visual arts to the development of fictional detectives, this paper will explore how crime ‘haunts’ urban space. Using the East End of London as a backdrop, we attempt to move beyond this as a subject of psychogeographical flâneurie. Rather, we will explore how the layers of this palimpsest accrete in the spatial practice of Whitechapel, as well as the representational spaces of the dark tourist and the reader of From Hell. We see how contemporary ‘urban monstrosity’, derived from Gothic and uncanny tropes, seeps into the interstices and into the practices of everyday city life.