Crime series are popular. In this seminar, we turn our attention to a subgenre, detective fiction and TV/streaming series. The detective, sometimes in the mode of a learned and exceptional figure (like Sherlock Holmes), sometimes rather more everyday, works to figure out causalities and explanations for offences. The detective works to draw our attention to modes of making sense.
The idea of detection has a productive overlap with notions of hermeneutics; searching for 'clues' is a part of how we understand the worlds we inhabit. The genres of detection we will explore in this seminar – both written and audio-visual – respond most specifically to crime, threats, and violence. Such offences themselves show the edges, or 'fences', of social contracts that govern human behaviours.
After a brief introduction to the histories of the genre, we will be paying particular attention to two aspects of detective series: the evocation of place (including the social sphere of the specific places) and the imaginings of science. In this, we will act ourselves as detectives, looking for clues in these texts that give rise to imaginings of place and methods of science, that is, methods of grappling with the materialities of environments (understood broadly to include the natural, social, national, amongst others).
A Reader with a selection of texts will be provided at the beginning of the course.