Crones, Crime and the Gothic

In-person Conference at Falmouth University UK, 10-11 June 2022

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

Older women have traditionally been portrayed negatively in folklore, fairy tales, literature and film, for example. Images of witches, evil stepmothers, shrivelled, bitter 'spinsters', and vindictive, bullying women abusing positions of power are rife in Western culture. Yet, perhaps things are changing. A new emphasis on the need to discuss and understand the menopause seems to be at the heart of this. This conference examines historical representations of the 'crone' in relation to crime and Gothic narratives. But it also looks ahead and globally to examine other types of discourses and representations. Bringing older women to the fore of the discussion, this conference aims to go global and really shake up the way that the ‘crone’ is thought about and symbolized.

This conference addresses the key real-world issue of how older, menopausal, and postmenopausal women are spoken about and represented in different cultures and locations. It focuses on crime and Gothic narratives that are the most often, but not always, negatively positioned in relation to older women. As well as highlighting some of the historical issues, this conference gives a voice to diversity, global differences, and other issues such as race, trans-cultures, class, colonization, sexuality identities, femininity, and masculinity.

We welcome abstracts for papers, panels, workshops, and creative practice.

Topics can include (but are not limited to) the following:

The Crone




Global representations

Older women in film and television

Criminal women

Wise women

The older woman and the Gothic

Older women and ethnicity


Regional cultures

Historical fiction






Crones and ecology and/or the climate emergency



The menopause

Abstracts do not have to cover each subject (crones, crime, or the Gothic) but each paper should address at least one of the title subjects and present a clear challenge to conventional and traditional ways of thinking. The aim of the conference is to explore the fears of the past and the contemporary, as well exploring ways to go forward.

Please send 250 word abstracts + a short bio in a Word document to:

We also welcome panel proposals, ideas for screenings of short films, or workshop proposals.

Submission deadline: 1 April 2022