Euro Noir: Transcultural Identities in European Popular Crime Narratives

Learn how crime novels, films and television dramas can help investigate European cultural identity.

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Estimated 10 weeks
4–5 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed

About this course

Skip About this course

The crime genre, arguably the most popular narrative genre in Europe, is an ideal object of study for evaluating how the process of Europeanisation has impacted the forms of cultural production, distribution and reception.

Have you ever wondered what has made crime narratives so popular throughout Europe? If yes, this course is a perfect fit for you!

The European collaborative project 'DETECt – Detecting transcultural identity in European popular crime narratives', funded under EU Horizon 2020 research programme, has taken up the challenge to investigate how the concept of ‘Europe’ can help to better understand the current landscape of popular media and transmedia crime narratives.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 770151.

The views and opinions expressed in the MOOC are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.

Course created with support from

DETECtEuropean Union

At a glance

  • Institution: KULeuvenX
  • Subject: Humanities
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    An interest in the crime genre and a general background knowledge about the most popular crime series is a prerequisite for this course.

    A familiarity in understanding crime narratives from a critical and research-oriented standpoint along with an undergraduate level of reading, interpreting and writing skills would be of benefit.

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • To reflect on the multiple ways in which crime narratives represent social and historical realities
  • To think of the crime genre as a form of social criticism
  • To understand how crime narratives are used by different European communities to express their local, national or regional cultural identity
  • To recognize how crime narratives contribute to represent transcultural identities that cut across national and linguistic boundaries
  • To analyse the evolution and transformation of European transcultural identities through the circulation of popular narratives across different countries and media
  • To interpret how historical and political events influenced the representation of European society in crime narratives

Module 1: Introduction (KU Leuven)

In the first module, we give you tips on how to best navigate through the course, its modules and units. Also you will discover more about the DETECt project. Through a case study we will introduce you to the topic of crime narratives in Europe.

Module 2: Crime Narratives and Contemporary European Society (University of Bologna)

In the second module, you will learn about the use of the crime genre, and noir in particular, as a form of social criticism. You will get familiar with the notions of glocalization and transculturality. You will reflect on how the cultural identities represented in European crime narratives are shaped by Europe’s history, geography and linguistic diversity. You will hear from the voice of bestselling crime writers how they approached the genre to engage with the social challenges faced by their specific communities, as well as Europe as a whole.

Module 3: History and Politics in European Crime Fiction (University of Limoges)

What are the similarities and relationships between crime fiction and historiography? We will try to find answers by examining how crime novels have recounted, revealed and reflected about some of the most troubling aspects of Europe’s past and present history.

Module 4: Nordic Noir: Style, location and the crisis of the welfare state (Aalborg University)

In the fourth module, we introduce you to the major features of Nordic Noir as a transcultural phenomenon in a Nordic and European context. You will learn about core examples of Nordic Noir and recognize the conspicuous role of place and location in especially television productions. You will also gain insights into how Nordic Noir has critically approached contemporary debates about the welfare state and problems of society.

Module 5: Mediterranean Noir: Migration & Transculturality (University of Bologna)

What is the connecting thread between Mediterranean Noir, migration and transculturality? In this module, we will provide insight into these aspects of the Mediterranean Noir, analyzing some iconic authors and considering the impact of this genre on Film and Television.

Module 6: Eastern Europe: Ethnicity & Diversity (University of Debrecen & University of Bucharest)

This module explains and illustrates the connections of crime narratives to the ways in which East-European societies confront their totalitarian past and the challenges of their EU integration. You will get familiar with the major trends in the production of East-European crime literature, film and television series. You will also learn how East-European crime novels, films and TV dramas have critically approached issues of gender, ethnicity, or social conflict.

Module 7: Conclusion: the Belgian Example (KU Leuven)

In this conclusive module, by taking the example of Belgian crime fiction as a case study, we introduce you to the controversial aspect of multilingualism. In addition, you will have the opportunity to discover the world of female crime fiction through the words of a contemporary crime writer.

About the instructors