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Sherlock Holmes & The Transcultural Imagination

MLCS 299 | Winter 2017

Course Syllabus |  Reading List

Ever since his first appearance in A Study in Scarlet (1887), Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has become an iconic detective who has captured the popular and global imagination. This course aims to introduce students to a selection of transcultural and trans-media adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels. Among the vital questions this course investigates are: Why is the quintessential Victorian detective adapted across so many cultures and media? What do contemporary cultural adaptations of Holmes reveal about the nature of detection? What is the connection between detection and the politics of identity? And how do adaptations renegotiate dynamics of power and authority? By exploring these questions, this course will begin with a critical examination of selected short stories and novels by Doyle, followed by an introduction to theories of adaptations. By establishing the theoretical framework of this course, students will be equipped with the critical tools to analyse various adaptations (novels, films, animation, and comics) of Doyle’s original works. From England, to France, to America, to India, and to Japan, this course maps out the multiple ways in which Holmes has been re-interpreted and revised to address questions of diversity, gender and race. So go grab your deer cap and cape for the game is afoot! Let our journey begin!


Anonymous Student Testimonials (Selected)

Generated by the University of Alberta Universal Student Rating of Instruction USRI:

"I appreciated the wide range of formats of the stories we read (eg tv vs novel vs manga). It was really interesting to see how the same Sherlock stories were reimagined in different cultures and formats. I especially liked Byomkesh Bakshy. As well Mimi really worked hard to make her students feel comfortable and cared for in her classroom. She is very accommodating which makes for a safer and more motivating learning environment. I thought the balance between original Conan Doyle works and adaptations was appropriate, and I felt that Mimi was very well read and knowledgeable about the subjects. I also really appreciated the inclusion of guest speakers and skype speakers. Mimi was able to use a prepared script appropriately, making her more organized without losing any charisma. I had a really rough semester (outside of this class), but Mimi's class has been the highlight of my week every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the last three months. I feel like she truly cares about us and wants to share her passion for these works, which is something truly special. The fact that she made our last day of class so special and thoughtful was really touching to me. Thank you so much, Mimi, for teaching me this semester. You are a source of brightness, as well as intelligence, and it was definitely worth taking this class. All the best, and good luck with your studies!" 
"Mimi was a fantastic instructor. I actually decided to take this course because I have had her as a prof before, and had such a great experience. She is extremely knowledgeable, passionate about the topics she teaches, provides strong lectures and interesting assignments. I loved that she encouraged creativity in all our projects, and let us research areas of the topic that we were passionate about. I really enjoyed how she provided a strong variety of adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, and not just popular Western ones. She also taught us a lot about the politics of adaptation, which I found fascinating. I loved the topic and I loved the course!”