Phi Beta Cons

How Rigorous Is This Writing and Rhetoric Course?

If you were a student at the University of Kentucky, do you think a course entitled “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food” that fulfills a general education requirement would be a rigorous one? I don’t think so. But as we read in this College Fix piece, the course is real. It is a “writing and rhetoric class” that explores Mexican culture, foodways, and other issues.  The instructor told the reporter, “We’re examining transnational community food literacies and how these connect with stories of people and food across borders.” Furthermore, the students have to write about “recipes and rhetorics that deal with things such as authenticity, local variations and preparations, and how food literacies situate different spaces, identity, and forms of knowledge.” They also have to post on Instagram and read restaurant reviews out loud.

One must wonder if a Kentucky student will learn very much about writing in English — the kind of writing that will be useful in a career — or just absorb a lot of faddish talk about Mexicans and their “foodways.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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