Writing 1: Writing About Food

Spring Quarter, 2007

Instructor: Lindsay Kelley lindsay.e.kelley@gmail.com

Syllabus online: http://people.ucsc.edu/~lkelley/classes/writing/spring07


Class meetings: MW       5:00-6:45PM         Hum & Soc Sci 250

Office Hours: Monday 3-4:30, McHenry Library 493A (see map) Also available by appointment before class Wednesday or after class Monday or Wednesday


Course Description: This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore intersections between industrial food production, cooking, activism, and art-making, stressing that using language well is important to any meaningful inquiry into and analysis of cultural production. Students will keep journals and write formal essays that explore questions such as: How do writers and artists understand what we eat and where food comes from in societies in which industrial agriculture dominates food production? How are food activists and writers generating discourse and controversy about issues as diverse as obesity, transgenic crops, and animal rights? How do we write about food, as critics, historians, growers, preparers, and eaters? We will read cookbooks, manifestos, critical reviews, and more theoretical pieces about food and culture. Among the artists and writers we will consider are Christine Chin, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the Critical Art Ensemble, the Tissue Culture and Art Project, Michael Pollan, and Hervé This.


Required Texts:


1.         Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace (2nd Edition) by Joseph M. Williams

2.         Course Packet, available at Literary Guillotine: www.literaryguillotine.com/ 204 Locust Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. I strongly recommend calling ahead and if necessary, ordering the course packet. You can also buy it over the phone and they'll hold it for you.

3.         A cookbook of your own choosing (Choose a cookbook that is at least 100 pages long, so you have enough to write about. Its theme, content, publishing date, etc., are entirely up to you! Try the Science & Engineering Library, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Logos or Chefworks downtown.)



Description                                               Length                  Due Date


"Writer's History"                                       2 pages                4/9

Write about your history with writing, answering some of the questions on the assignment prompt in an effort to flesh out your involvement with words and language.


"The Cookbook"                                        3-5 pages    D1: 4/11      D2: 4/18

Answer some questions about your cookbook. Who is it written for? What are its politics? How does it write food and eating?


"A Meal"                                                   3-5 pages    D1: 4/23      D2: 5/2

Write about a specific meal, teasing out its politics, tastes, and pleasures a la Michael Pollan


"WikiWriting"                                             3-5 pages    D1: 4/16      D2: 4/23

Reflect on your experiences as a Wikipedia contributer this quarter. What was it like to write collectively? What did you learn? Will you continue to contribute to Wikipedia? Why or why not? Page length does not include summary of edits/contributions.


"Choose a site"                                         5-7 pages    Topic: 4/14

Bibliography: 4/21

D1: 4/30 D2: 5/6

A research paper situating food in one of the following spaces (or a different one of your own choice): "Food & Art," "Food & Restaurants," "Food & Ethics."


Format your assignments per the following specifications:

Font: Times New Roman 12 point (or Times is fine)

Margins: 1 inch (double check!)

Spacing: double

Citations: MLA style (consult any MLA reference text)

Header: include last name and page number in the upper right hand corner of each stapled page

Front page heading: Include first and last name, the course name, my name, and the date


Responsibilities to the course:

·       Attendance is mandatory. Although it is possible to miss up to two class meetings and still pass the class, this strategy is not recommended. I encourage you to attend every class meeting, and save any excused absences for genuine emergencies. The most important parts of this class happen during our class meetings, so it is imperative that you attend class. I will take attendance until I know your names and faces, and then I will check off absences without calling your name. More than three absences is grounds for immediate dismissal from the class and a "no-pass" grade.

·       All work must be completed and turned in to me in order to receive credit for the course. If one assignment or one iteration (draft, prospectus, bibliography) of an assignment is not turned in, you will not pass the course. The due dates on the syllabus are very important. Due dates for drafts are extremely important; without a draft, you will not be able to revise your work for your final paper. If you need one or two extra days to put finishing touches on your final drafts, and you have spoken to me ahead of time, that will most likely be fine with me. Keep in mind that the schedule is designed to help you, and if you do not keep to this schedule, you will fall behind. I do not give incompletes unless arrangements for completing the work are made well in advance of the end of the quarter. I will not initiate such arrangements.

·       We will meet in conferences twice during the quarter. These meetings are important for both of us; often I will have a draft to return to you at the meeting. These meetings will happen outside of class, and it is imperative that you attend the meeting and be on time.

·       Things you will need for this class: a good English language dictionary, the texts listed above (packet, Williams, cookbook), a blue book for in class essays, and $$ for copying (you will be bringing multiple copies of your drafts to class to distribute in your writing group). You must have access to a computer, the internet, and a printer for this class. I will also be using e-mail to communicate with you, so please be sure your e-mail account is in order if you have not already done so.


Week 1: April 4              Writing About Food

W:     Introductions, Lecture: "Recipe Art"

Acquire your cookbook. Have it in hand ASAP (next Monday at the latest), and e-mail me the title and author(s).

Decide on your wikipedia entry. (See handout for help choosing something.) E-mail me with your article title and username by the end of next week.

Hand out E1 and writer's history assignments.


Week 2: April 9, 11                 Taste

M:      Due: Writer's History

W:     Due: Draft of Essay 1, "The Cookbook"; Wikipedia e-mail


Week 3: April 16, 18                Industrial Eating

M:      Individual Conferences 1: return drafts, hand out E2 assignment

W:     Due: Essay 1, "The Cookbook"


Week 4: April 23, 25                Vegetarianisms

M:      Due: Draft of Essay 2, "A Meal"

W:     Kris Weller guest lecture; return drafts


Week 5: April 30, May 2  The Writer & the Restaurant

M:      In class essay tips

W:     Due: Essay 2, "A Meal"


Week 6: May 7, 9           La France!

M:      In class essay 1

W:     Individual Conferences 2, handout essays 3 & 4 assignments

May 10, 12-1:45 pm, I'll be giving a lecture in Donna Haraway's class. Kresge 327. Please come! (not required!)


Week 7: May 14, 16                Foraging

M:      Due: Topic for Essay 4, "Choose a Site"

W:     Due: Draft of Essay 3, "WikiWriting"


Week 8: May 21, 23                Bio-art, Activism, and Food

M:      Due: Bibliography for Essay 4, "Choose a Site"

W:     Due: Essay 3, "WikiWriting"


Week 9: May 30             Science of Food: Artificial Meat and Molecular Gastronomy

M:      NO CLASS

W:     Due: Draft of Essay 4, "Choose a Site"


Week 10: June 4, 6                 Food in Fiction

M:      TBD

W:     Due: Portfolio, including Essay 4, "Choose a Site"


*** we could alternately have the portfolio due during exam week, giving you more time to write. We'll decide in class. ***