Sophomore Sem: American Dreams, American Nightmares, U.S. Ethnic Lits of Post-War Disillusionment


The explosive popularity of true crime stories-a genre that crosses the boundaries of literature, film, podcasting, and journalism-forces us to contend with pressing questions of race, gender, and representation. How has true crime has changed (or not) in light of activism against police violence and violence against women? What are the political stakes of consuming true crime, and how does racial justice figure in? Can true crime be feminist, even as the genre has long been defined by the trope of the beautiful dead woman? What is the profile of true crime's reading community, and how does the race and gender of that community impact the evolution of the genre? Truman Capote's most famous work, In Cold Blood, will be our starting point, and we will end with Michelle McNamara's posthumous publication, I'll Be Gone in the Dark. In the intervening weeks, we will encounter other examples of the true crime genre: Errol Morris's film The Thin Blue Line, David Grann's book Killers of the Flower Moon, and Sarah Koenig's Serial podcast. Sophomores will be given preference in registration for this seminar, but first-year students may enroll as well.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM