since 1965  (really?)

The Female Detective: Difference, Genre, and The Rational Profession in Current Film and Television

This course listing applies to a Spring 2016 course. To find current courses, check out the Find a Course page.

Spring 2016
Film 198
2 Unit(s)

Human friendly URL (OBSOLETE)


About the Course:

“Gender changes meaning. If Sarah Lund had been Sean Lund, her behavior wouldn’t be particularly remarkable or taboo-breaking. Not being there for her son, arriving at family occasions late or not at all, being curt: that’s what men with important jobs do all the time. It is easier for them to break the rules, since they made them in the first place; indeed, the rule-breaking, the violence and the hard drinking seem part of what makes them effective detectives. Women’s behavior, by contrast, is judged against the norm of their male colleagues: it can never be invisible, never taken for granted… Her demented pluckiness radicalized the plot.”  - Nicci Gerrard, “Move over, Morse: female TV detectives are on the case now,” The Guardian

The last few years have seen a notable rise in popularity of  female detective figures in film and television series.

We will use a variety of short fiction, essays, and film criticism, in order to develop a critical framework through which to view, understand and unpack the importance of popular, current films and television series that prominently feature a female detective figure. The course will ask students to consider the types of cultural claims these narratives carry and the ways in which they achieve (or do not achieve) their goals. Students will share their perspectives, observations, and commentary in collaborative discussions, presentations, and short informal essays.


Class and Grading Policy:

The class will meet once a week for three hours. In the meeting, we will first briefly go over the assigned reading, then introduce and watch screenings, followed collaborative discussion. Readings will be provided online in pdf form via bcourses or email. Attendance will be taken as part of the participation grade. Only one unexcused absence will be allowed. Student’s Grades will be determined as such: Because this is a P/NP class emphasis will be placed on attendance and participation. Grading will prioritize sharing of perspective or intriguing ideas and dialogue-esque constructive criticism rather than any discrete or strict rubric.  


Assignments Include: 

1) One grad-seminar style in class reading presentation: students will each sign up to present on one of weeks reading (no more than three students can present each week). 

2) One short writing assignment (2-3 pages)

3) The option of a final paper (5 pages) OR a final creative project 

All of which must be turned in/completed to receive a passing grade

Grading Breakdown:

35% Attendance & Participation 

10% Reading Presentation

20% Short Writing Assignment

35% Final Paper/Project


Again, all assignments must be turned in/completed to receive a passing grade!

Course readings will include the following authors: Edgar Allen Poe, D.A. Miller, Linda Mizejewski, Phillipa Gates, Yvonne Tasker, Emily Nussbaum and more!

Course clips and screenings will include: The Killing (2011-2014), The Fall (2013-), Marvel's Jessica Jones (2015-), Foxy Brown (1974), The Wire (2002-2008), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), and more!

How to Enroll:

Because attendance and participation are vital to this course, enrollment will be decided on a first come first serve basis. To enroll in the course students must be present on the first and second day of class meetings. Feel free to email me with any questions or concerns. Thanks. :)

Course Contact: russ.zych AT

Faculty Sponsor: Emily Carpenter

Time & Location:

Russell Zych
30140 BarrowsTu 5p-8p1/26started

Uploaded Files:

Syllabus: The Female Detective Syllabus.pdfJan 20118kbAdobe PDF (Viewer)View Download

Course info last modified January 16, 2016. This page has been viewed 1831 times.

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