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May 19 Seminar: Rachel Adams

Global Fellow, Rachel Adams will discuss her paper, The Borders of American Crime Fiction, in which she proposes that fictional detective stories that take place at the U.S.-Mexico border are an example of the globalization of that genre of writing.

The Borders of American Crime Fiction

Rachel Adams, May 2005


This essay proposes detective fiction about the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as a prime example of the globalization of a popular genre.  By the late twentieth century, the detective novel had become “global” both because its themes and conventions travel especially well—meaning that its recognizable formulas can now be found in virtually any part of the world—and because it has begun to incorporate the conditions of globalization into its representation of crime.[1]  While detective fiction has often been studied in terms of discrete linguistic and/or national traditions, these categories are inadequate for understanding the contemporary American detective novel, which is thriving in many parts of the hemisphere, from Quebec to Latin America, and draws influences from around the world.[2]  Instead of becoming more homogenous, the detective novel has grown increasingly geographically particularized and culturally specific, while addressing audiences that extend far beyond the boundaries of its given local community. 

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Download File: Rachel Adams globalization paper.doc

UCLA International Institute