Course module - American Crime Fiction: Genre, Commerce, Ideology
Code : AMER30782 Credit rating: 20 Semester : 2
• To explore the shifting cultural and historical significance of crime fiction from the 1930s to the present day;
• To develop students’ awareness of genre theory and critical analysis of popular culture;
• To engage critically with a range of different cultural, historical and theoretical sources, in order to explore popular crime fiction in both its formal and material aspects;
• To foster oral, written and online presentation skills, both independently and as part of a team.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
By the end of this course, students should be able to demonstrate:
• An in-depth understanding of the complex and unstable significance of crime fiction within 20th century American culture and society;
• An ability to effectively research and present a convincing written argument; an ability to understand and assess competing interpretations and conceptual approaches;
• An ability to critically analyse a range of source materials; to grasp the relationship between form, commerce and ideology within crime fiction;
• An ability to carry out independent research; work in groups; present ideas in written, oral and online communication.
One 2,500 word essay (40%); one unseen written exam (50%); 10 minute group presentation; 500-word group-written blackboard posting (10%).
The use of dictionaries in the examination is prohibited. This rule applies to all categories of students, including all Visiting Students.
THIS COURSE IS AVAILABLE AS FREE-CHOICE.
This course looks at the conceptual, historical and industrial contexts of American crime fiction in the 20th century. The course examines crime fiction’s place within the field of genre studies and popular culture criticism, exploring the various approaches that have worked to both define and destabilise the genre. The course then maps the genre’s development from the ‘golden era’ of hardboiled detective fiction (1930-1960), to its subsequent diversification into popular subgenres such as neo-noir, black/ethnic crime fiction, feminist crime, and the prison novel. Through this progression, it examines the genre’s ability to negotiate a number of historical and ideological tensions, including progressivism and conservativism, racism and anti-racism, patriarchy and feminism, class-consciousness and neoliberalism, nationalism, multi-culturalism and globalism. The course also considers the materiality of crime fiction, linking its textual operations to its shifting historical reception, ongoing marketability, and uneven political exigencies. In doing so, it explores how commercial ‘pulp’ texts incorporate meta-themes of crime, commerce, and inequality.
Turner, Dr Will
PROVISIONAL TIMETABLE FOR 2012-2013
Workshop: Friday 2-5
One 3-hour workshop per week (including seminar/tutorial, presentation, and mini-lecture).
Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest (1929)
Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely (1940)
Mickey Spillane, One Lonely Knight (1951)
Chester Himes, Run Man, Run (1960)
Sarah Paretsky, Deadlock (1984)
Ice-T and Mal Radcliff, Kings of Vice (2011)
Tzvetan Todorov, Genres in Discourse
Sean McCann: Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism
Woody Haut, Pulp Culture: Hardboiled Fiction and the Cold War
Jonathan Munby, Under A Bad Sign: Criminal Self-Representation in African American Popular Culture
Andrew Pepper, The Contemporary American Crime Novel: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Class
Adrienne Johnson Gosselin (ed.), Multicultural Detective Fiction: Murder from the "Other" Side