Michael Andrew Arntfield
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Academic and Police Careers
Arntfield was a police officer and detective in London, Ontario from 1999 to 2014 when he left policing to accept a customized academic appointment at University of Western Ontario where he teaches what he calls "literary criminology" in a combined English literature, professional writing, and crime studies program. The program developed in part from a scholarly book series he was invited to co-direct by Peter Lang Publishing in New York, and through which he coined the term "the criminal humanities". Arntfield completed his PhD at Western in 2011 while working in a plainclothes police unit and with his dissertation focusing on police murders in the United States and Canada.
Cold Case Research
In 2011, Arntfield created a student-run unsolved crimes think tank and case evaluation study group known as the Western Cold Case Society. The volunteer initiative was modeled on an earlier undergraduate course on serial homicide and crime history that Arntfield designed and taught while completing his doctorate and still a police officer. The Society receives roughly 30-50 requests for review and audit per year, mostly from private citizens and the families of murder victims who have grown frustrated with police inaction or ineffectiveness.
Current Research Partnerships
- Murder Accountability Project. Board of Directors. Washington D.C.
- American Society of Criminology. Associate Member. Columbus, OH
- Center for Homicide Research. Associate Researcher. Minneapolis, MN
- Western University Cold Case Society. Founder & Director. London, Canada
- American Investigative Society of Cold Cases. Academic Committee. Williamsport, PA
Television Work & Appearances
Arntfield's television work encompasses both unscripted and scripted work as both an appearing expert and host and also as a producer and writer. His work has also served as the inspiration for several television productions currently on air or in development.
From 2013-2016 Arntfield was retained as a host, writer, producer, and consultant for the true crime series 'To Catch a Killer, initially produced for the Oprah Winfrey Network and on subsidiaries of the A&E Network and CBS across Europe, Asia, and Oceania. and later syndicated internationally. From 2016-2018 he was attached to an Oxygen Network production that, upon rebranding as a crime broadcaster, attached him to a project loosely based on his work with the Murder Accountability Project; the series was later canceled for unspecified reasons after filming a pilot in Atlanta over the course of 2018. In 2019 he appeared as an expert and personality in the Investigation Discovery series Children of the Snow detailing the Oakland County Child Killer case and he was also retained as the chief expert for season two of the A&E Europe series Homicide: Hours to Kill. He is also a recurring expert who appears on a number of CBC series such as the long running investigative documentary series The Fifth Estate and The_National_(TV_program)
In terms of scripted or dramatic productions, Arntfield's life rights as a detective-professor hybrid have been optioned by various productions companies and he also remains attached as a producer and writer with respect to the television adaptions of his true crime books, all of which are currently still in development. This includes Mad City being under option by AMC Studios as a television drama and Monster City being acquired in 2019 by New Metric Media who had previously optioned Canadian writer's Antonio's Nicaso's work to create the crime drama series Bad Blood for Citytv.
In May 2015, Arntfield was retained by HBO’s British distributor to be the spokesperson for the DVD and digital release of the true crime documentary The Jinx, and was used to explain to European media the investigative value of documentary journalism with respect to cold cases.
True Crime and Other Publications
Arntfield has also authored or co-authored over a dozen books, including the best-selling and controversial Murder City for which he is arguably best known. In the book he advances a hypothesis, often employing an epistolary format through the use of a now deceased detective’s original diary notes, that over a specific interval in the 1960s and 1970s, the city of London, Ontario spawned or otherwise housed more serial killers per capita than any city in Canada, and likely beyond. In 2015, it was announced that Emmy Award-winning Sullivan Entertainment had acquired the television rights to the book, and that a dramatic network series was in development even ahead of the book's release date. Arntfield is signed-on to serve as both co-executive producer and technical consultant for the series.
Arntfield currently holds a Canadian federal research grant to study the sociolinguistic underpinnings of cyberbullying, trolling, and other forms of cyberdeviance and electronic harassment. Having collected over 40,000 samples of cyberbullying text from news message board and social media sites and analyzing their contents, Arntfield has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and research papers appearing in textbooks in which he argues that cyberdeviance in many cases has a distinct sexual and fantasy-based component. He argues that cyberbullying and acts of trolling should therefore be understood as being more akin to a paraphilia than traditional physical bullying. In 2016, Arntfield will serve as the visiting Fulbright Research Chair in crime and literature at the English department at Vanderbilt University after being selected as part of a rigorously competitive process overseen by the U.S. Department of State. He will be furthering his research on literary criminology and cyberbullying while there, as well as developing a Vanderbilt iteration of his Cold Case Society. He will return to Western in the fall of 2016.
- Introduction to Forensic Writing, Co-author: Justice K.A. Gorman. Toronto: Carswell (2014)
- Murder City: The Untold History of Canada’s Capital of Serial Homicide, 1959–84. Victoria: FriesenPress (2015)
- Healthcare Writing: A Practical Guide to Professional Success. Co-author: Dr. J. Johnston. Calgary: Broadview Press (2015)
- Gothic Forensics: Criminal Investigative Procedure & Evidence in Victorian Horror & Mystery. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan (2016)
- The Criminal Humanities: An Introduction. New York: Peter Lang Publishing (2016)
- Mad City: The True Story of the Campus Murders That America Forgot. Little A (2017) (Amazon charts top seller and most-read book. Optioned by AMC Studios. One of the top two notable true crime books of 2017)
- Murder in Plain English: From Manifestos to Memes--Looking at Murder through the Words of Killers". Prometheus Books; American First edition (2017)
- Monster City: Murder, Music, and Mayhem in Nashville’s Dark Age. Little A (2018) (Amazon charts top seller. Optioned by New Metric Media - producers of Letterkenny and Bad Blood)
- Workplace Violence & Harassment: A Forensic Investigation Handbook. San Diego: Cognella Academic Publishing (2020 – forthcoming)
- How to Solve a Cold Case: Disrupting the Murder Industry. Toronto: HarperCollins (2020-forthcoming)
- Practical Criminology. Toronto: Nelson Education (2020 – forthcoming)
Articles in Edited Books and Anthologies
- Crime in America: 1921-1940. In: The Social History of Crime & Punishment in America, 5th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications (2012)
- Corporate Criminal Liability. In: The Encyclopedia of White-Collar & Corporate Crime, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications (2013)
- Workplace Deaths. In: The Encyclopedia of White-Collar & Corporate Crime, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications (2013)
- Watergate. In: The Encyclopedia of Lying & Deception. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications (2014)
- Fantasy & Imagination. In: The Encyclopedia of Lying & Deception. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications (2014)
- eMemoriam: Digital Necrologies, Virtual Remembrance, & the Problem of Permanence. In: Digital Death: Mortality & Beyond in the Online Age. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger (2014)
- Cybercrime & Cyberdeviance. In: Criminology: A Canadian Perspective, 8th Edition. Toronto: Nelson (2014)
- Grab Some Wall: A Man in Uniform, Metropolitan Toronto, & the Fog of the Street. In: Screening Justice: Canadian Crime Films & Society. Winnipeg: Fernwood Press (2015)
- Necrophilia & Digital Media. In: Necrophilia: A Global Anthology. San Diego: Cognella Press (2015)
- Necrophilia in English Literature, Poetry, & Prose. In: Necrophilia: A Global Anthology. San Diego: Cognella Press (2015)
- Cold Case Homicides: Challenges & Opportunities. In: Homicide: A Forensic Psychology Casebook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press (2016)
- Cybercrime & Cyberdeviance.” In: Criminology: A Canadian Perspective, 9th Edition. Toronto: Nelson. (2019)
- "Toward a Cybervictimology: Cyberbullying, Routine Activities Theory, & the Anti-Sociality of Social Media." (2015) The Canadian Journal of Communication,
- "The Monster of Seymour Avenue: Internet Crime News & Gothic Reportage in the Case of Ariel Castro." (2015) Semiotica.
- "Money. Armed. Quietly: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Institutional Holdup Notes." (2016) Semiotica – forthcoming/in press
- "Out of Exile: The Recusal of the Chicago Police Department from American Crime Fiction, 1960-2010." The Canadian Review of American Studies. Vol. 43(1). 388-410 (2013)
- "Media Forensics & Fragmentary Evidence: Locard’s Exchange Principle in the Era of New Media." The Canadian Journal of Media Studies. Vol. 11(1). 2-27 (2013)
- "TVPD: The Generational Diegetics of the Police Procedural and the Automation of American Law Enforcement." The Canadian Review of American Studies. Vol. 41(1). 55-75 (2011)
- "Vulnerable Position Screening: HR Due Diligence or Police-Corporate Collusion?" The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, & Change Management. Vol. 20 (9). (2011)
- "Hegemonic Shorthand: Technology & Metonymy in Modern Policing." The Communication Review. Vol. 11 (1). 76-97 (2008)
- "Wikisurveillance: A Genealogy of Cooperative Watching in the West." The Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. Vol. 28 (1). 37-47 (2008)
- "The Aesthetic Calculus: Sex Appeal, Circuitry, and Invisibility." The Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society. Vol. 27(1). 37-47 (2007)
Essays and Editorials
- "Mean Girls to Mass Sociogenic Illnesses: A Criminal Ecology of Female Adolescents." In: Beyond Five Paragraphs: Advanced Essay Writing Skills. Toronto: McGraw-Hill-Pearson (2015)
- "Policing 2.0: The Necessity of Police-Academic Partnerships in a Knowledge-Based Economy." RCMP National Gazette. Vol. 74(4). (2012)
- London-inspired crime show hopes to Catch a Killer, by Chris Montanini, in The Londoner, published February 6, 2014; retrieved June 25, 2015
- releases/2015/June/western_university_true_crime_expert_named_fulbright_chair_at_ vanderbilt_university.html Western University true crime expert named Fulbright Chair at Vanderbilt University, published June 22, 2015; retrieved June 25, 2015
- "The Criminal Humanities: A New Book Series". uwo.ca.
- news/national/education/uwo-meets-csi-as-students-investigate-cold-cases/article4193018/ UWO meets CSI as students investigate cold cases, by Julian Sher, in The Globe and Mail, published August 29, 2011; retrieved June 25, 2015
- "Michael Arntfield - CRIMINOLOGIST, PROFESSOR, CONSULTANT – London Ontario – Cold Case Society". michaelarntfield.com.
- Wilkinson, Alec (2017-11-20). "The Serial-Killer Detector". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
- A true crime expert weighs in on HBO's 'The Jinx', by J. Wesley Judd, in the Pacific Standard, published March 19, 2015; retrieved June 25, 2015
- Ex-cop criminologist’s new book calls London 'Canada's serial killer capital' of the 1960s, '70s and '80s, by Jane Sims, in the London Free Press, published June 22, 2015; retrieved June 25, 2015
- "Murder City -". murdercitythebook.com.
- Western University professor Mike Arntfield learns the web trolls' language, by Mike Donachie, in Metro News, published March 24, 2014; retrieved June 25, 2015
- vanderbilt_university.html Western University true crime expert named Fulbright Chair at Vanderbilt University, published June 22, 2015; retrieved June 25, 2015