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Digital Detectives: Detective Literature Under a Digital Macroscope


Admission requirements

Students are encouraged, but not required, to take Hacking the Humanities before this course.

Auditors are welcome, space permitting. Please note Students of the Minor Digital Humanities have priority. Students from other programmes can only be admitted if there are places left. Students from other programmes interested in taking this course are kindly requested to contact the Coordinator of Studies and the Lecturer, if you are interested in taking this course but NOT a student of the minor Digital Humanities. See also under registration below.


This course will utilize the tools learned in the Hacking the Humanities course to analyse a variety of novels and short stories now in the public domain. Students in the course will both read, and use digital tools, to analyse the literary content and historical underpinning of works of a variety of genres, with potential emphasis on detective fiction by Edgar Allen Poe (Auguste Dupin), Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), and Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot).

Course objectives

The course will introduce students to databases and online resources that contain materials contemporary with the works under discussion and will cover advanced text-mining and visualization techniques. By the conclusion of the course, students will have acquired skills that will allow them to design stream-lined projects that process, animate, map, and visualize a large corpus of texts.



Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Seminar: 13 x 2 (26 hours)

  • Study of compulsory literature: (40 hours)

  • Assignment(s): (26 hours)

  • Paper preparation and writing: (40 hours)

  • Oral presentation prep: (8 hours)

Assessment method


  • Attendance and Participation: 10 percent

  • Assignments: 30 percent

  • Final Project (paper or online project): 50 percent

  • Project presentation: 10 percent

Final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Students who have scored an overall insufficient grade for the course may take a resit for the assignments and the Paper (or online project):

  • comprehensive take-home exam: (50 percent of grade)

  • Paper (or online project): (50 percent of grade)

Final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Provide course materials

  • Course communication

Reading list

The up-to-date syllabus, which includes all of the readings for the course, can be found at


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. J. Prokic