Writing About True Crime
True crime directs our attention to the dark underside of reality and reveals an aspect of the human condition that captivates and horrifies us. In this class, students will seek to consider our relationship as readers, viewers, and listeners to these stories that we consume and are consumed by. What does it mean to be interested (often voyeuristically) in someone else’s tragedy? What are the biases of journalists, filmmakers, etc.? How does our definition of justice underpin our own biases? Why are we interested in a criminal’s motives to the point of obsession? Are the presentations of these cases (especially the insistence that everything is true) unethical? We will think a lot about narrative and crime—what’s the assumed relationship between facts and accuracy? We will analyze and explore ways of understanding true crime and the culture surrounding it. Students will be exposed to a variety of true crime accounts through books, podcasts, and documentaries. They will be asked to question the ethics involved, the tactics employed, and the presentation of each case.