Teaching the Humanities

By Michael Mendelson.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Entry-level courses are the portal to all academic work. And yet, they are typically relegated to the backwaters of academic attention and avoided by faculty as too preliminary to contribute to professional advancement. Nonetheless, these courses present opportunities to introduce the entire student body to humanistic perspectives on critical understanding. This essay outlines an ambitious approach to introductory courses that attempts to redefine our mission by reconsidering our approach to teaching. Specifically, the essay argues that we expand our pedagogical focus to include the 90% of undergraduates who do not major in our disciplines. In the process, the essay addresses how we can contribute to the entry-level curriculum, what we might teach, and what benefits follow from our engagement at this level, with these students. In brief, if the humanities hope to be better understood and more highly valued than they are at present, the 90% will have to have a better idea of what we do and what such knowledge can do for them.

Keywords: Rhetoric, Composition, Knowledge, Teaching, Humanism

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 8, pp.183-198. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 648.516KB).

Dr. Michael Mendelson

University Professor of Rhetoric and English, Department of English, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA

University professor specializing in rhetorical history and theory as well as literary studies. Thirty year career in academy with numerous publications, including “Many Sides” (from Kluwer Academic Publishers).Founding director of ISUComm, the largest multi-modal communication program in the U.S.


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