From stalkers to serial killers, terrorists to ‘school shooters’, violent crime seems one of the key symptoms of our age. As a result, notions of criminality, pathology and deviance are increasingly central to our understanding of how culture works, and what it means to be a subject in the 21st Century.
Not surprisingly, academic interest in crime fiction, film, and ‘true crime’ has been subject to a resurgence of interest within the Humanities. The Masters programme in ‘Literature, Crime and Culture’ enables you explore key issues within the area of ‘crime culture’. It centres on a range of cultural production from established crime genres such as detective fiction and film noir, to work which debates terrorism or postcolonial crime, and enables you to study theories of criminality and debates about real crime as represented in the media, fiction and film. In addition you will be encouraged to develop your own interests in exploring these topics beyond the level of an undergraduate degree and to pursue your own projects across a wide range of available supervision areas.
The University of Portsmouth is one of the leading centres of European Studies in the UK. In the last UK Research assessment Exerscise European Studies at Portsmouth received a grade five (research of international excellence). The MA in Literature, Crime and Culture is an interdisciplinary course (rooted in literary studies, but also encompassing the study of film and other cultural production) taught by staff who are researchers in the Centre for European and International Research and who have published extensively in relevant areas of literary and cultural analysis, and are experienced in teaching and supervision.
The course at Portsmouth adopts a inter-disciplinary approach to the study of ‘crime culture’. You will study established genres such as detective fiction, contemporary crime fiction, film noir; issues such as shifting historical demarcations of criminality, the urban context, crime and the body, crime fiction and postmodernism; and theoretical approaches to crime from postmodern, psychoanalytic and postcolonial perspectives. Unlike undergraduate courses, however, the programme aims to explore crime fiction and film in ways that move beyond a standard ‘generic’ approach, and in doing so show that analysing constructions of criminality is a powerful way of understanding modern and postmodern culture.
We also place strong emphasis on the development of research skills and analytical abilities appropriate to this level of study. The course is directly tailored to meet national benchmarks for research training and is therefore ideal if you are thinking about future doctoral-level study, as well as offering a valuable boost to your personal profile if you are an education professional or simply looking to expand your portfolio with a challenging and rewarding advanced qualification.
This course is very much informed by current research. Course staff are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research, which was awarded a top rating of grade five (international quality) in the last Research Assessment Exercise. You will be able to participate alongside other postgraduates in the events run by the Centre such as seminars, lectures, conferences and regular postgraduate study days.
The course begins by considering broad historical, theoretical and generic approaches to the academic study of crime fiction and film before moving on to consider specific areas and issues within the field, such as the body and sexuality, the urban context, the question of crime and empire, and the significance of the Nineteenth Century in producing modern constructions of criminality.
Towards the end of the course students can take a special option in ‘Postmodern Detective Fiction’, and choose to specialize in a chosen area of crime fiction, film or theory through a supervised Independent Project, or choose from a range of options on other, related Masters courses, such as Literature, Culture and Identity or Memory Cultures. Finally you will undertake a substantial dissertation on a suitable topic of your choice where a designated subject specialist will support and supervise your research.
Specifically, the three mandatory core units are:
-Reading Crime Culture: Theories, Genres, Histories
-Humanities Research Skills
-Humanities MA Dissertation
Students can then choose between two core units:
-Memory, Empire and Crime
-Body Maps: Deviancy, Regulation and the City
Your options are:
-Independent Project (research focused)
-Postmodern Detective Fiction
-Option from another MA (subject to availability)