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Making a Killing: Murder and True Crime Non/Fiction Narratives
FIST 121
Fall 2014
Section: 01  

This course explores the genre of true crime in a comparative setting and by way of a study of different typologies of murder: spree killing, fratricide, serial killing, infanticide. Roland Barthes wrote in Mythologies that, "Periodically, some trial, and not necessarily fictitious like the one in Camus's THE STRANGER, comes to remind you that the Law is always prepared to lend you a spare brain in order to condemn you without remorse [...] it depicts you as you should be, not as you are." What does murder reveal about the society and historical context in which it takes place? How are the murders in question "made"? How, for example, does the "judicial media circus" condition the trial's outcomes? What is the relationship between real crimes and the narratives they generate and their fictional counterparts? What does the consumption of murder narratives tell us about the state and perception of law and order? How does this perception differ over time and in different (post) national contexts? These are some of the questions this course will take up through an analysis of literary (fictional and nonfictional) and cinematic texts in a variety of national settings. Some of the murder cases we will explore include the serial killings attributed to the "Monster" of late 20th-century Florence and H. H. Holmes in Chicago of the World's Fair (1893); the 1996 murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsay; the 1959 murder of the Clutter Family (the basis for IN COLD BLOOD); the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, and Amanda Knox's conviction; and the death of Azaria Chamberlain in 1980 in Australia, for which her mother, Lindy, was accused of infanticide.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Credit/Unsatisfactory
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Less than 50%

Last Updated on JUL-01-2015
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