American Crime Fiction - ENGL6580

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Canterbury
Autumn Term 6 30 (15) Will Norman checkmark-circle

Overview

This module explores the history and practice of crime fiction in the United States from Edgar Allan Poe in the 1840s through to the present day. Crime fiction will be understood
broadly to encompass a range of generic categories such as detective, hardboiled and police procedural novels and stories. Attention will also be paid to developments in cinema
and television which parallel those in fiction, such as film noir and the contemporary cop series. Strong emphasis will be placed on historically informed reading and students will be
encouraged to relate the close analysis of texts to shifts in narrative form as well as the establishment and transgression of generic conventions.

The study of American crime fiction reaches directly into the heart of many of the key concerns of undergraduate English. Questions about the distinctions between high and low
culture, the seductiveness of particular narrative forms, and dialectic relations between literary and social history will all be addressed. Students will have the opportunity to read
crime fiction alongside elements of Marxist, narrative and genre theory. Eventually they will be able to consider how crime fiction has evolved in its engagement with questions of
race, gender and sexuality in the United States, from the construction of white masculinity in the hardboiled genre to the policing of black communities in the neoliberal city.

Details

Contact hours

Private Study: 268
Contact Hours: 32
Total: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment Methods:
Essay 1 3,000 words 40%
Essay 2 3,000 words 40%
Seminar participation 20%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework (4,500 words)

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages: https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Read and respond critically to a range of American crime fiction
2 Relate their reading to developments in social and political history
3 Explore a range of theoretical approaches to literary texts
4 Think critically about the interrelationship of cultural trends in literature, film and television
5 Understand and evaluate narrative form in fiction, film and television
6 Interrogate distinctions between high and low culture
7 Interrogate and understand contemporary culture in the twenty-first century

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate their abilities to analyse texts critically and make comparisons across a range of reading
2 Demonstrate their abilities to articulate and communicate coherent critical arguments in a variety of methods
3 Understand and interrogate various critical approaches and the theoretical assumptions that underpin these approaches
4 Demonstrate their abilities to carry out independent research

Notes

  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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