Lesson 4

 The Goal:

This lesson will go into various hints for your writing. You will learn about the Ladder of Abstraction, the importance of a narrow scope, as well as think critically about the role of personal writing, academic writing, and the intersection between these.

What to Read:

The Ladder of Abstraction.

Scope: Narrowing your focus,” by Agnes Scott.

Critical Thinking in College Writing: From the Personal to the academic‘ by Dadbender Gitanjali in Writing Spaces,  Vol. 2

* UPDATE* Instead of  “Staying Home for Dinner’ by Lisa Heldke, (which is no longer public) check the slack discussion 4 for your new discussion assignment.

Writing Exercise:

This week’s writing exercise is a peer review of one of your peer’s papers. In the academic world, a paper goes through a process called “peer review” before it is published in academic journals. Peer review means that academic papers are vetted by others of similar background or focus area, which helps keep work factual and accurate. This is why peer reviewed articles (which are easy to search for through google scholar) and books are the best sources.

Write a 1-2 page peer review of your assigned peer’s paper. (I will email you your peer’s paper). Answer the question: What was compelling and convincing about the author’s argument and/or where did this paper lack
necessary information? Your paper should be analytical, with a cohesive thesis that is followed throughout.


We’re taking a break from Pollan for a week, to *UPDATE*: go to slack discussion 4 to see your new assignment for the week’s discussion. You’ll be collecting articles about food that interest you.

“Food is one of the most concentrated sources of meaning in human life” Helke says (9). This is why I love teaching a class about food: just like writing, you just can’t get out of it. But…that means that each bite of food has to be taken in with thought. Doesn’t it? Do you agree. Or, like this paper, titled “Against  Food Consciousness, do you think we’re overdoing the food-has-meaning argument?

Take the leap over to Slack to discuss.

 Submission Checklist:

  • Contribution to the Discussion (30 points)
  • Peer Review Writing Exercise (20 points)