Fall 2019

Whodunit? Thinking with Detective Fiction

Listed in: English, as ENGL-172


Amanda K. Henrichs (Section 01)


Sherlock Holmes. Miss Marple. Judge Dee. Temperance Brennan. Precious Ramotswe. The Dude. Sam Spade. Batman. You might not know all these characters, but they share one thing in common: they have all been called detectives. Despite their other differences, they all seek to understand a problem; they are all in search of answers. It is probably this attempt to make sense of the world through a process of reasoning that makes the detective such an enduring figure in popular culture. In this course, we will model our own reading, writing, and thinking on the detective’s analytical processes. Through deep engagement with various media including film, television, books, and graphic novels, this course will attempt to understand the persistent fascination with the vibrant (and frequently difficult) figure that is the detective. Topics will include Sherlock Holmes (both early stories and recent BBC television adaptations), Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Gertrude Stein, The Big Lebowski, and more.

Limited to 18 students. Eight seats reserved for first-year students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Henrichs.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to first year students and English majors who still need to complete their 100-level requirement.


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, January 2021