STS 1126.101 — Science & Society Topics: Food-Flix & Chill
Course Description: If the films produced over the last 15 years serve as any indication, food resonates. With titles ranging from Supersize Me (2003) to Food Evolution (2016), with the likes of Cowspiracy (2014) and a few thought-provoking Chipotle commercials sprinkled in-between, food topics have no dearth of cinematic appeal. This seminar will teach students to write clearly about food issues, paying particular attention to the parallels between the chosen films and contemporary food-related social movements. In addition to critical analysis of films through a “food studies” lens, we will sample readings from a variety of related genres, from science writing to blogs and media criticism. Writing assignments will span these methods, culminating in the submission of a collaboratively researched proposal for a class film script.
Course Rationale: As a powerful lens of cultural and scientific analysis, food (and films about food) serves as a fruitful topic for an introductory writing course in science and technology studies. Discourses around food comprise many voices and dimensions, and this course guides students through exploration and analysis of a variety of perspectives, including those of farmers, activists, scientists, journalists, historians, and ethicists. We will model our work on well-written, classic historical and contemporary texts and films that demonstrate the variety of writing styles and genres common in the field of Science & Technology Studies. The goal of this course is to use the writing (and revision) process to build clear, concise, and intellectually forceful arguments that suit the demands of a particular topic, medium, or audience.