Detective Fiction in the First-Year Seminar

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Book Chapter

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Publication Title

Murder 101: Essays on the Teaching of Detective Fiction


Dickinson College, as its First-Year Seminar Handbook (2007) states, "established its First-Year Seminar Program in 1981 as a way to cultivate and encourage positive attitudes toward academic work and to stimulate appropriate mental habits" by introducing "new students to the standards and expectations of academic life at the College." Seminars should therefore "introduce students to the habits of mind essential to critical inquiry and liberal learning. They include the ability to read with discernment; to formulate important questions; to locate and bring to bear on these questions reliable evidence from a variety of sources; to recognize that all disciplines have specific modes of inquiry and that real understanding may require the application of information from across a variety of disciplines." A First-Year Seminar is thus intended to be "one of the courses that lay the foundation for the development of skills that allow students to formulate imaginative, analytic arguments; and to express such thoughts clearly in written, spoken, and visual communication."

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