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Digital Detectives: Detective Literature Under a Digital Macroscope


Admission requirements

The class is restricted to BA3 students taking either the 15 or 30 EC package in Digital Humanities. The class will depend on skills learned in Hacking the Humanities. If you are interested in taking this course but did not take Hacking the Humanities, please contact Paul Vierthaler.


This course will utilize the tools learned in the Hacking the Humanities course to analyse a variety of late nineteenth and early twentieth century detective novels and short stories. Students in the course will both read, and use digital tools, to analyse the literary content and historical underpinning of Poe’s Auguste Dupin, Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and Christie’s Hercule Poirot, among others.

Course objectives

The course will also introduce students to databases and online resources that contain contemporary materials and 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


  • Assignments

  • Paper (or online project)

  • Oral Presentation based on paper/project


  • Attendance and Participation: (10 percent of grade)

  • Assignments: (30 percent of grade)

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

  • Oral Presentation: (20 percent of grade)




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

Course materials will be distributed via GitHub and Blackboard.


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

Registration Studeren Contractonderwijs



Paul Vierthaler