English | Projects in Reading & Writing: "Other" Fascinations: Detectives, Spies, Paranoia
W170 | 16042 | Gillesse


•	16042		9:30-10:45a	TR		SY 022
From early twentieth-century radio broadcasts to present-day
bestsellers (The Da Vinci Code; The Curious Incident of the Dog in
the Night-Time) and television shows (Law and Order; CSI), American
culture has expressed both a fear of and fascination with
discoveries of (and about) the unknown.  This course will
investigate the complexities of this phenomenon and the concomitant
upsurges in popularity of detectives, spies, and paranoia as they
appear in various types of textual and visual media.  In our age of
high-tech, readily available information, why do mysteries still
fascinate us, sometimes even centuries after they have been written?
What does our need to “solve” the riddles they offer tell us about
our culture, and about what we “can” know? Can surveillance succeed
in controlling and containing the unknown? How can knowledge of the
unknown suddenly turn into paranoia, and what cultural purposes
might suspicion—and the creation of it—serve? Our enquiries will
likely lead us to many surprising discoveries of our own about the
paradox of obsession with and fear of the unknown in contemporary
culture.