ENGL 144
Whodunit? The Ethnic Detective Novel and its Permutations Spring 2010
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed ENGL 144 / AMST 144
This is not the current course catalog

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The many variations of the detective novel–from the British “cozy” to American “hardboiled” thrillers–have long been staples of popular culture. The pleasure that many derive from it is, oddly enough, formed by a deeply paradoxical nature of the genre: the surprise of the final revelation combined with the predictability of its narrative form and devices. Yet this very predictability has also allowed writers to use the conventions of the mystery novel to achieve different effects, to tell other stories, and oftentimes to transgress the genre itself. In this class, we will read and discuss works by various American ethnic writers and their use of the forms and conventions of the mystery novel to ask: how do we understand the relationship between ethnic identities, histories, experiences and the genres, conventions, and other elements of detective fictions? How do the different writers use conventions of detective fictions, and to what purposes?
The Class: Format: discussion/seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3600
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active in-class participation, four short papers, one longer paper (5-7 pages) on a detective novel of your choice (can be chosen from or beyond the course readings)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 144 Division I AMST 144 Division II
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora

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