American Studies HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

BA Course

Elective Course
AMER2039 The art of crime and its detection in the United States 6 credits
Images of the police permeate our international world of news and entertainment. In our daily lives we expect them to protect us in moments of distress but might not trust their authority to carry guns or to exercise physical power over us. This course considers the police as a modern institution of law enforcement by taking a close look at how they get represented in films, television shows, and journalism for audiences in the United States, the Americas and throughout the world. The course emphasizes contemporary depictions of the policing, but we will also consider the philosophical basis for law enforcement and the literary precedents that have shaped ways of telling a good story about solving a crime and arresting the perpetrator. The texts we read, watch and discuss may include: early literary stories of solving crimes; instructional materials that train police officers; procedural police dramas in TV and film; legal documents outlining the rules of arrest and interrogation and use of force; journalistic accounts of sensational police events; and early rock and roll music and music videos by contemporary hip-hop artists.
Prerequisite: AMER1050 or GCIN1001 or CLIT1008
Assessment: 100% coursework
(Offered in 2021/2022)


American Studies HKU