Slavic R5B, Section 3: Session D (July 6 – August 14): Criminal Minds: Writing Anti-Social Behavior in Literature and Pop Culture

TuWTh 10-12:30, Evans 5. Instructor: Maria Whittle.

Units: 4

This class will be taught over Zoom.

What makes a criminal? What thoughts and experiences motivate antisocial behavior? Is a murderer born or raised? How can law-abiding citizens truly know? From murder mysteries and crime novels to true crime podcasts and thrillers, humans have often sought the answer to these questions in works of fiction and creative non-fiction. In this class we will explore the ways in which writers and filmmakers have attempted to enter and understand the mind of a criminal, and the ways in which we, as readers and viewers understand them. We will cross boundaries of culture, medium, and genre in order to explore the ways readers and writers understand (and imagine) the criminal mind, and will think about the ways in which art can influence, illuminate and/or distort that understanding.

Potential readings will include the works of authors such as Lev Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Wright, Truman Capote and Patricia Highsmith. Students will also watch the film Taxi Driver, and episodes of the series Mind Hunter.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.

Instructor pending appointment.