Detective Fiction: The Search for Justice, Meaning, and a Better Tomorrow

Course Number: ENGL 193
Prerequisites: Writing 2, or 50, or 109, or English 10 or upper-division standing
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Writing Requirement, GE Area G Requirement
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 193
Quarter: Summer B 2012
Instructor:
Day(s): MTWR
Time: 5:00 - 6:05 PM
Location: SH 1430
Description:

This course begins by exploring the origins and foundations of Detective Fiction in the modern metropolis and a hermeneutics of suspicion -- covering such authors as Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The course goes on to consider the influence of World War I on the genre -- looking at the work of Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammet to consider how the representation of gender norms and roles changed. We then turn to Rudolph Fisher's novel *The Conjure-Man Dies* to both consider how representations and considerations of race also changed, and to transition into the third section of the course. Beginning with the third section of readings, the second half of the course will examine how detective fiction evolved in response to the problems put forth by Postmodernism and Poststructuralism, from a search of justice -- or the maintenance of the status quo -- to a search for meaning. Here, we will consider changes in form and medium, as well as content, looking at the graphic novel adaptation of Paul Auster's *City of Glass* and the Alan Moore graphic novel *Watchmen*. Finally, we will look at how iterations of detective fiction imagine the future and search for a better tomorrow through the film *Blade Runner* and the some of the short stories of Walter Mosley.

The course will focus on primary readings, but you will also grapple with some theory from Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and some other major twentieth century figures.