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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Shannon Mondor
ENGL 281
Seattle Campus

Intermediate Expository Writing

Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.

Class description

For SPRING 2008: Food Matters: Writing about Food, Community, Class, and Culture.

In this course, we will examine and write about how culture connects to food in our everyday lives, on both individual and social levels. We will look at food cultures (and language about food) in the contemporary US as highly complex, multilayered, and rhetorical activity systems constantly involving their participants in choices with very real material consequences. Our inquiry will be guided with careful analysis and creative unpacking of a frequently invoked cultural commonplace: you are what you eat.

If that common saying is true, then what are you? Why? What guides the daily choices we make about food and the options we believe are available as we make those choices? What determines the significance ascribed to these choices, both individually and due to memberships in our various cultural groups? How and why might we intervene in established patterns and relationships with food, on either individual or cultural levels? Taking a critical look at something as allegedly simple as what you’re eating for dinner tonight can promote new insights into how cultural values (as related to gender, class, race and ethnicity, to name just a few) are continually reinscribed and at times challenged--both through food practices themselves and the rhetorical moves and situations giving meaning to these practices.

We will begin with localized personal glances that will likely extend to global and transnational sites as we trace how and why certain foods are on our plates, and what those foods mean to us, to society, and to the planet on their varied journeys from seed to table. Throughout the quarter, the class will examine and produce a spectrum of creative and analytical texts as we think critically about food genres and food cultures, and also celebrate their significance in our lives.

Though our theme is food and culture, ultimately, this course should help you build a wide repertoire of creative and critical rhetorical skills so you can adapt your writing strategies and style for what is appropriate to the varied rhetorical situations in which you participate, whether in your chosen academic discipline, your civic or personal life, or your various community affiliations. Assessing your intended audience and purpose for writing, as well as the appropriate genre conventions and rhetorical techniques to get your message across, form essential components of effective writing This course will approach writing as a highly recursive, interactive, and situated rhetorical process that requires experimentation and attentive practice to accomplish its intended work in the world.

Revision and reflection form the core elements of this course, since they will help deepen your insights and critical abilities with language. The course will be student centered, meaning your active and informed participation is essential to our work—lectures will be scarce, so come prepared to engage and to discuss. My goal for this course is to assist you in forming a community of supportive, engaged peers who are responsible for their own and each other’s learning, who can make astute rhetorical choices to communicate effectively in numerous rhetorical situations through multiple genres, and who are committed to improving each other’s writing and thinking.

Student learning goals

By the end of the course, you should have a better understanding of the way food is produced in America and what role you play in the current food system.

You will develop and articulate an informed food philosophy.

You will have more experience working collaboratively to produce knowledge related to course content--including writing processes, rhetorical strategies, and genre conventions.

You will write in creative and analytic genres.

You will develop a portfolio to showcase your best work.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional ENGL course descriptions.
Last Update by Shannon Mondor
Date: 01/23/2008