writing about food culture 1

6 pages (1200-1500 word) final essay.

No citation formatting required, just make sure a reader could track down your two additional sources for themselves.

This can be with the same group as your 1.30 work or with a new group (or on your own!)

There will be a more extensive research/citation requirement for this essay: You will need to employ at least two outside (not course-assigned) peer-reviewed academic journal research articles in support of your work. These will not be quantitative science articles. They CAN be chapters from academic books.

Here is the assignment in fuller detail, based upon class discussions to date:

In your final essay, you may choose pretty much any animal studies topic, with but one requirement:

Your essay must make a sincere advocacy claim for animal protection/liberation.

This will not be a “sentimental” or emotional plea. It must be written in third person voice. It must address animals’ intrinsic/inherent value, not merely the human sadness or experience of losing animals from the earth. If you espouse the “Welfare” position, you may find yourself already in an unsuccessful spot: that position is directed toward human use (and thus, at human happiness/welfare) as its central tenet, despite any ancillary animal “wellbeing” built into that instrumental belief about human supremacy and entitlement. However, the ecological welfare approach in Carson and others (see below) may work quite well! Then again, despite their good intentions and important practical impact on the world, Caron’s “A Fable for Tomorrow” addresses how humans will lose some quality of experience as a result of major environmental disaster by their own doing, which will then include no birds singing. The Dunbar poem, on the other hand, attempts to connect more directly to the bird’s own experience. But as we discovered, that sympathy was itself challenged by Nagel’s argument and other complications of the comparative gesture in Meadows, etc.

In other words: You’ll need a careful case for the animal itself here. Perhaps this can become the “ecological” claim on species, ecosystem, or some other broader community that requires stable flourishing on interconnected grounds, not just as a valuable individual experience. This essay must involve Carson’s Silent Spring and the Sze/Ziser article—both of which articulate environmentalist approaches to animal concern and human industrial agricultural/extractive influence on climate, habitat, etc. Both also are part of “environmental communication,” an expression of problems and possible concern/action that relates to our films in fact.

Your essay must also address at least one of those films (Bambi and/or Okja). Depending upon which film you choose, other readings will make more sense for your essay’s supporting materials (Luke and/or Lutts for Bambi, the various animal liberationist works for Okja). Here you will need to discuss some of the techniques used to build a case for animal protection/liberation, and so the articles on animated film and anthropomorphism, cuteness, and the like will help you think further about how these films attempt to motivate feelings and action (and also how they criticize feelings and action or can be criticized, as our readings also address especially in the case of Bambi). In your essay, your address of the film should discuss how it goes about making its case for animal concern and how it criticizes human action that causes diminution of animal (and environmental) well-being.

Unlike the class discussion on how the films do or do not represent reality (called indexical and realism, when photographic fidelity of a real-life entity is accomplished, documentary realism when a presentation of events and history are ‘objectively’ communicated), your job is simply to “diagnose” (explain) how the film you discuss mobilizes ideas in these readings.

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