ENGL 273
Detectives Without Borders Spring 2020
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ENGL 273 / COMP 273
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Why is detective fiction so popular? What explains the continuing multiplication of mystery novels despite the seemingly finite number of available plots? This course will explore the worldwide fascination with this genre beginning with European writers before turning to more distant detective stories from around the world. The international scope of our readings will highlight how authors in different countries have developed their own national detective typologies while simultaneously responding to the international influence of the Anglo-American model. At the same time the readings will trace the evolution of the genre from the classical Sherlock Holmes model through later iterations, including golden age, hard-boiled, police procedural, female detective types, and more. Alongside fictional narratives, essays on the genre will provide the theoretical ground for our investigation. Our international journey will begin in England and the United States (G.K. Chesterton, Robert Knox and Edgar Allan Poe) and continue through Japan (Edogawa Rampo), France (Georges Simenon), Italy (Andrea Camilleri), Argentina (Jorge Luis Borges), and beyond. As we journey around the world, we will look at the possibility of reading detective fiction through the categories of gender, postcolonial, and race studies. Film adaptations of the novels we read, TV shows and films noir will also be included in the course material. All readings will be in English.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 15
Class#: 3075
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: short papers, one research paper, oral presentations, midterm, class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Comparative Literature and English majors
Unit Notes: COMP core course
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 273 Division I COMP 273 Division I
WS Notes: This is a writing skills course which requires weekly short papers, blog entries and three 5- to 7-page papers which will test students' ability in close-reading, comparative readings and research analysis. I will provide written feedback regarding grammar, style, and argument.
DPE Notes: A significant part of the course addresses issues of post-colonial critical theory, by including crime fiction from non-Western countries (South Africa, Japan, Brazil, Argentina). The post-colonial reading of those novels is supported by the reading of post-colonial theory such as (Frantz Fanon and Edward Said). The issue of gender inequalities is central to the course. Women and LGBTQ detectives are included in the syllabus.

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