Rhetoric 24, Section 1

Essentials for Humanities Majors (and others) (1 unit, LG)

Professor Daniel F. Melia
Wednesday 11:00-12:00, 6415 Dwinelle Hall, Class number: 32566

“Call me Ishmael.” Is the very famous first sentence of Chapter 1 of Moby-Dick. It may seem simple, but it turns out to have many odd aspects. Who asked the speaker what he should be called? Is Ishmael his name, or just something to call him? Who is or was Ishmael? Should the reader make any assumptions about the speaker based on that name (or nickname?) Majoring in or taking courses in the humanities, believe it or not, requires skills preparation and background knowledge equivalent to the prerequisites that everyone assumes to be necessary for STEM disciplines. This course is intended to introduce you to the core knowledge and essential techniques needed to succeed in the humanities and other discursive disciplines. It isn’t just about reading The Sun also Rises and writing a paper about how the book made you feel. It’s about knowing what is going on in a text in a deep and thorough way. (And, BTW, where did Hemingway get that title, and why is it appropriate for his novel?)

The Seminar will cover 5 major areas:
Close reading
The Bible and other background knowledge
The Canon(s)
Orality and Writing

Instructor Bio

Daniel Melia is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Rhetoric, where he has taught for forty-three years.

Faculty web site: http://rhetoric.berkeley.edu/people.php?page_id=1056&p=62


Really, any student who is interested in learning skills of reading and analysis of texts, but perhaps of special interest to students thinking of majoring in the humanities.