Detective Fiction

LTA2072 Detective Fiction, Noir, and Social Criticism
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits
This course explores the uses and genre development of detective fiction and film noir and their functions as social commentary, applying examples from different times and places - in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. What do these works have in common, and what separates them? How do they reflect or interrogate the cultures that produced them? Why has detective fiction (in its various incarnations) remained so popular? We consider revisions of the genre in the so-called "hardboiled" or serial "pulp fiction" of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as its representation in film noir. We analyze later versions of the genre through films such as Chinatown and Blade Runner, and recent alterations in neo-noir films, evaluating them in relation to contemporary culture. Short works by canonical Latin American authors such as Borges and García Márquez, among others, provide an introduction to Latin American crime fiction. Through the works of current and popular writers and filmmakers we consider the legacies of dictatorship in Spain and Latin America, and the genre's use in investigating and exposing a conflictive past (or fear of what one might find). We will look at the female detective in varied works. How is she different (if she is?) from her male counterparts? And we examine how detective fiction can function to parody or subvert the possibility of an ordered solution, or the completion of justice.

Prerequisites: (FCI1000 or AHS1000) and (WRT1001or RHT1000)

  • Program: Undergraduate
  • Division: Arts and Humanities
  • Level: Intermediate Liberal Arts (UGrad)
  • Course Number: LTA2072
  • Number of Credits: 4