American Studies 110 AC California Detectives
- day and time MTuTh 9:00-11:30
- location 9 Lewis
- instructor R. Hutson
- 4 Units
- Class # 11515
The figure of hard-boiled detective who emerged in California in the 1930s represented a significant reinvention/revision of the classic English version of the master detective. While the stories featuring Sherlock Holmes emphasized the unsentimental rational, quasi-scientific road to solving mysteries in the English countryside, the novels of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler that founded the genre were politically charged commentaries about class and power and they represented California (and by extension America) as an urban dystopia. By the 1980s, a number of crime fictions were exploiting the hard-boiled formula to explore the history and culture of California from the perspective of women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans.
After a glimpse of Hammett and Chandler, this course will emphasize the plots, characters, themes, methods and politics of a number of later hard-boiled American detective fictions (novels, film, television) focusing on the comparative representation of gender, race and ethnicity in post WWII California.