R1B - 005 | CCN: 22148

The Craft of Writing

Resistance and the Creative Everyday: The Rhetoric(s) of Everyday Life

Instructor: Giancarlo Cornejo and Suzanne Li Puma

4 Units

Often we think of the everyday as the unremarkable register of our experience. In this course, however, we will invite you to attend to everyday experience as a significant rhetorical site, where complex meanings are dynamically produced, resisted, and transformed.

At the outset of our course, we will inquire into the nature of everyday experience and ask how it might be constituted and registered in language, sign, image, body, and place. What creative dimensions inhabit everyday experience? Are they visible or touchable? Can we see them or speak (to) them? Do they leave any traces? If so, what are these traces and where (and when) can they be found? With these queries, we aim to critique, commune with and derange the multiple forms taken by the concept of the everyday.

As we continue to seek out the everyday, we will also ask how we ourselves are articulated, shaped and transformed through our own quotidian experiences. How do the words, images and spaces we inhabit--and the motions we perform--constitute and shape our own selves? We will also consider how the everyday is at once the site of the banal and the place where we find ourselves faced with the uncanny and the absolutely strange. What is the life of an ordinary word? What of a photograph or advertisement? How can we think of resistance in relation to “everyday” objects? We will think through the iterations of the everyday in text, image and embodied space, engaging with works by thinkers and artists such as Roland Barthes, Judith Butler, Michel de Certeau, bell hooks, Clarice Lispector, Ana Mendieta, Trinh Minh-ha and others.

This course fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition (R&C) requirement at UC Berkeley. We will seek to develop the critical tools required of writers and readers at the college level by establishing strategies for close reading, argument building, the use of textual evidence, and academic research. Students will use these tools to produce a 10-12 page research paper as their final project. Also, we will provide some introduction to the discipline of rhetoric and the modes of inquiry active in the Rhetoric Department at UC Berkeley.