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WRTG 3020 Topics in Writing: Food and Culture


Angela Buchanan


All upper-division writing and rhetoric courses have goals of improved writing, editing, research, and rhetorical knowledge. All topics must go through the process of peer review and must be approved by the instructor.  The most successful topics are those that are timely, local, clearly defined in their scope, and supportable by credible research.

This course is conducted as a virtual workshop, with online discussion, individual writing and research, and reading and critique of peer texts.  Like all CU writing and rhetoric courses, your full participation in peer workshop activities is required to pass the course.  Students who succeed in the course log in daily, carefully read all of the materials, and offer in-depth peer feedback. Please note that D2L tracks all of your peer response and posting activities, including time spent per activity.  Please also read the FAQ located in the navigation bar at the top of the page.

The production, consumption, and culture of food is the topic focus of this course, with a special emphasis on how we write about food and memory, food and history, and food and politics. Students will also conduct independent research related to a current, food-related controversy. Examples of potential topics would include the politics of food scarcity in the U.S., the “slow food” movement, local food issues and water rights, food labeling, the treatment and legal status of animals raised as livestock, regional foodways, crop subsidies, gender roles in food history, etc. Topics are self-selected but must meet with instructor approval. We will also read and discuss food memoirs and histories, with an eye toward how they reflect and capture personal and social experience.


WRTG 3020 is conducted as an intensive workshop in writing about personal, environmental, and sociopolitical issues concerning the production, consumption, and cultural experience of food. The course focuses on persuasive, narrative, and analytical writing that embodies critical thinking and offers credible research and support for opinions and assertions. Attention is also paid to appropriate diction, tone, style, and writing genres. Students should learn rhetorical versatility, which is the ability to adapt written messages to different audiences, for different purposes. All effective writing—from basic email to a research report—must keep the audience in mind in terms of tone, shared knowledge, and purpose.

Primary course goals:

  • Learn to write with discursive versatility, making rhetorical choices that will adapt your texts to a particular audience and purpose;
  • Examine the rhetorical differences between public and private discourse;
  • Investigate and apply ethical structures for your writing;
  • Adapt your area of disciplinary knowledge towards writing to a lay audience;
  • Develop and apply your critical thinking skills, which are foundational to successful writing;
  • Develop storytelling skills that extend and enhance your analytic skills;
  • Develop drafting and revision skills, as well as peer response;
  • Practice critical but respectful dialogue with colleagues;
  • Become better-informed about national and international events and issues;
  • Develop an increased understanding of conventional grammar and usage, along with syntax, punctuation, and spelling appropriate to the genres we will investigate.


No Required Texts.


Term grades will be based on performance in the following areas. Written work in progress will be given revision comments but will not be graded, and final essays and other assignments will be scored according to the following percentages:

15% Peer Review and Participation

15% Rhetorical Analysis Reading Journal

15% Reading Discussions (Facebook Group Page)

15% Food Memoir

20% Research Proposal

20% Persuasive Project

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