LITR 101: Intro to Fiction


General Education Rationales:

Purpose and outcomes

The course will train students to think critically and deeply about the timely issues such as racial and gendered violence, laws and social norms, and ways of using and critiquing deductive reasoning. Students will read analyze, discuss and write about crime fiction written by a diverse range of authors in a variety of social, historical, critical contexts and styles. Discussion, lectures, and assignments accompanying the readings will foster aesthetic appreciation of, and imaginative, empathetic engagement with the words, ideas, and experiences of others. Students will study the original historical contexts in which crime stories were produced and reflect the ways detective fiction continues to shape debates and dialogues about crime, criminals, and victims today. Students will learn to identify and unpack simplistic constructions of “good guys” vs. “bad guys” in this popular genre of literature to inquire more deeply into the notions of criminality, justice, innocence, victimization, violence, and deviance that produce and sustain such narratives. Critical, historically-grounded analysis of crime storytelling will orient students to methods and discursive practices particular to the study of the humanities, showing them how to interpret the ideas and discursive practices particular to the study of the humanities, showing them how to interpret the ideas of others and generate original ideas of their own. Crime fiction is a uniquely powerful genre of literature, both shaping and shaped by social injustices, prejudices, and inequalities. As such, a sustained study of this genre of literature provides an ideal opportunity for teaching students the very essence of humanistic inquiry: how society influences humanistic thought and how the humanities transform society.
The course introduces students to mysteries, detective fiction, and crime stories in British and American literature. We begin with the historical roots of the genre in the 19th century, and trace developments, innovations, and experiments in the “whodunit” genre over the course of the 20th and 21st century. Students will learn about the stock formal and thematic features of mysteries and detective fiction, and consider how gender, sexuality, race, empire, disability, and class shape and transform fictional and “true crime” storytelling of the present and recent past. Students will learn to analyze, discuss, and write about these important topics, and reflect on their own participation and responsibility as global citizens of today and tomorrow.

Plagiarism: This is the act of using a source (a quote, a fact, or a paraphrase) without properly citing the information (i.e. giving credit where it is due). This is often done accidentally, without knowing how to properly cite things. The conventions will be covered throughout the semester so as to take care of this problem                    
Course Requirements:
=> A two-page analysis paper is to be type-written before the mid-term exam. It is due by October 8th. It should be written about the works being covered on the days you are submitting it, not works previously covered in class. It should be a formal analysis, not a personal response. Don’t explain why you liked the work, or how you related to it, but rather, analyze an aspect of the work itself. Furthermore, don’t simply summarize the text!
=> A second two-page analyses paper will be due on November 5th. It should follow the same format as the first two-page paper.
=> A one-page explanation of the topic you’ve chosen for the research paper is due by September 27th. Explain why you’re interested in it and the way you plan to address it in the paper. Also include information about how you plan to research your focus.

=> There will be one five-page research paper due on November 19th. You need to pick a social, political or historical issue relating to the works we’ve covered and create an argument about its cause, effect, or significance. You should include at least three secondary sources from books or the library databases and three references to works we’ve covered.

=> There will be eleven pop quizzes throughout the semester, based on what was assigned for the day of the quiz. The lowest will be dropped.

=> Comment on the message boards at least once a week.

=> Along with participating in class, you must also participate on the message board. You should start at least three threads throughout the semester and comment on threads at least once a week. Be sure to follow up on your comments to see if people have responded. These threads can be about anything related to class. Ask questions about assignments, post links to interesting articles, look for feedback about your ideas, etc.

=> There will be two essay exams: a mid-term and a final. The Mid-term is due October 22rd and the Final is due on December 16

Course Supplies:

=>Links and Files on Canvas

Course Policies:

=> Be on time to class.

=> All assignments are due at the beginning of class on their due dates

=> All work must be typed (with a font size of 10-12 and in Times New Roman typeface), double spaced, and complete, following the standard MLA format. Work should be submitted via Canvas.

=> Late assignments will not be accepted.

Department Participation and Attendance Policy:
=> Students enrolled in English Department classes are expected to participate in daily interactive activities. They will, for example, routinely discuss reading assignments, write in class on impromptu topics, participate in collaborative activities, or engage in peer review of drafts. Students who miss these activities cannot reasonably make them up. As a result, students who do not participate regularly should expect to receive lower grades in the course, and students who miss more than the equivalent of two weeks of class should consider withdrawing and taking the class in a future semester. Students who know that other commitments will make it impossible to attend at certain times (early mornings, nights, Fridays) should enroll in classes that do not meet at these times.

EMU Writing Support:

The University Writing Center (115 Halle Library; 487-0694) offers one-to-one writing consulting for both undergraduate and graduate students. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays. The UWC opens Monday, September 10, and closes Thursday, December 13.
The UWC also has several college and program satellite locations across campus. The locations and hours for the other satellites can be found on the UWC web site:

Students seeking writing support at any UWC location should bring a draft of their writing (along with any relevant instructions or rubrics) to work on during the consultation.

Halle Library:

The EMU Library offers support for finding, evaluating, and using information sources for research papers and projects.  

Use Library research guides for your assignments or subject area. Look in your Canvas course shell for the Library Guides link. You’ll also find self-service help on using the library, research basics, plagiarism, and citing sources at:  \Get one-on-one research help by visiting the Library, calling the Information Desk at 734-487-2445, or making an appointment with a subject specialist librarian. Subject specialist librarians, assigned to each EMU department, can give you friendly expert advice on your research project. You can also consult a librarian online via the 24/7 Ask-A-Librarian chat service. For details, visit:

The Academic Projects Center, located on the Halle Library first floor, offers drop-in help with research, writing, and technology to improve the quality of your research paper, project, or presentation. You can get help with brainstorming ideas, finding sources, structuring an essay, or putting together a presentation using PowerPoint or Emich Google Apps. The APC is staffed by writing and technology consultants as well as Library faculty. More info at:

International Student Resource Center (ISRC): 316 King Hall (734) 487-2859

The ISRC helps international students with language for course assignments in any subject, or with general English grammar, speaking, listening, pronunciation, reading, and writing skills.

All international students at EMU are welcome to visit the ISRC for support with their academic assignments. Many students benefit from one or two visits in their initial semester as they acclimate to EMU and to studying in the U.S. Others benefit from weekly appointments to assist with U.S. academic expectations and conventions. Faculty may refer students to the ISRC, and students are welcome to make appointments with or without a referral.

Disability Resource Center (DRC): 246 Student Center (734) 487-2470

The Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Disability Resource Center (DRC) views disabilities as an integral part of the rich diversity of our campus community and society. We work collaboratively with students, faculty and staff to create an accessible, sustainable, and inclusive educational environment for all students. The DRC acknowledges that classroom and campus accessibility needs and considerations are expanding as more classes and campus experiences incorporate online and technological components. The DRC staff is dedicated to providing access to students, faculty and staff with resources to educate and create an equitable campus experience for the EMU community

EMU Covid Policy:

All students, faculty, and staff are required to wear a face mask inside all campus buildings regardless of vaccination status unless one is eating, drinking, swimming, or undergoing a physical examination. Instructors can be maskless when alone in offices. Instructors may be unmasked in classes if their vaccination status is verified with the university and they maintain six feet social distancing in the classroom.

As Covid-19 information is updated by the CDC and WHO, the policy will likely change in one way or another.