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Tracings are slightly more developed research accounts that adhere to particular methods or approaches we will take up this term: memory work, word work, site work, interview, and source work. They should help you generate ideas and shed light on an a researched argument that will surface as the result of multiple inquiry-based passes at questions connected with food. Tracings do not need to be too tightly linked to a particular topic or theme, although they may gravitate over time toward an emerging focus. They are meant to gradually help you arrive at a stance after many weeks of reading and writing. Several of these tracings will be recombined into the researched argument you produce toward the end of the term.

Submission Process
Tracings, like research memos, are due at the beginning of class, both on paper and in EMU Online. Upload your completed tracing to EMU Online no later than 9 a.m., and bring two paper copies to class. Do not put your name on the paper copies you carry into class. Instead, post the 121-ID provided to you on the first day of class. Late tracings will not accepted for credit, but you can include missed/unsubmitted tracings in your end-of-term portfolio for up to 50% credit.

Formatting and Length
Tracings must be three pages, typed and double-spaced, adhering to MLA style and formatting conventions. They should be as focused and as carefully developed as possible within three pages. Tracings will be approximately 850 words in length. Include an appropriately descriptive and/or catching title.

In-class Peer Review
Each day a tracing is due, we will work in peer review groups to read, discuss, and arrive at a consensus ranking (based on some shared criteria) of the top one or two tracings produced by another group. These distinguished pieces will in turn serve as our focus for another segment in class, during which we will look more closely at the writing samples and discuss their qualities, both as pieces of writing (e.g., stylistic and rhetorical qualities) and as pieces of research (e.g., insights and investigative qualities).

Prompts and Deadlines

DUE Tracing.1 Memory Work
Develop an account of a food memory. Position the memory as richly as possible in a context with specific references to people, places, and activities. What was significant about the moment you recall? What mattered most? How much did food, its making, or consumption play a part of the story? Does anything about the memory strike you as uncanny? Suprising? Curious? Was there any subtext to the situation involving controversy or strife? Were there side dishes? Courses? Strange flavors? Unexpected odors? Describe the food as fully as you can even as you circle more broadly into these contextual details. As you develop this account, pay close attention to Foer's opening anecdote on "The Fruits of Family Trees," pp. 3-17, and his use of his grandmother's carrots and chicken to develop perspective on his views of food from early childhood.

DUE Tracing.2 Word Work
Develop an account of up to two food-related words. Use a variety of reference resources to define the word(s), to break the word(s) down, and to examine up-close the different connotations associted with them. You may quote definitions from dictionaries, but you should in all cases add explanation to any quoted definitional materials. That is, if you consult a dictionary and quote from it, you should explain the significance of the quotation as something that extends, expands upon, or elaborates on the term's meaning(s). As you develop this account, notice how Foer sorts through various keywords in the "Words Meaning" chapter, pp. 45-77. Include a correctly formatted works cited with your written account.

DUE Tracing.3 Site Work
For this tracing, you will select a site to observe and, after spending sufficient time studying that site, you will write an account in which you describe it in as much detail as possible given the length limits. The site you choose should involve some food-related activity: a restaurant, a grocery store, or some other site of your choosing (not your home or apartment). Your description should provide details about the physical qualities and also the activities in the environment. Include a digital photo if you choose.

DUE Tracing.4 Interview
Conduct an interview and present it as a coherent document. Your interviewee should be someone who can provide perspective on your research question or on the researched argument you are beginning to develop. Include the actual questions you ask followed by the interviewee's answers. You may need to be selective about how much of the interview material you include in this tracing. That is, you will probably have more than three pages of material from the interview, so select the most salient excerpts for this tracing.

DUE Tracing 5. Source Work
Tracing 5 is for all intents and purposes a start on the researched argument. In it, you should develop a section of your researched argument where you work from particular sources to lend texture and perpsective to your claim(s). Tracing 5 should include references to at least two sources, it should be properly documented with in-text citations and a works cited adhering to MLA style, and it should reflect summary, paraphrasing, and direct quotation. It doesn't necessarily have to stand as pages 1-3 of your researched argument, but you should approach it as some piece of the larger draft in which you incorporate sources and strategically position them in support or as counterpoints to your over-arching claim. For a review of MLA Style visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/.

Evaluation Criteria

Each tracing will be scored on the following scale:


Up to two times during the term, you can earn an additional +2 by attending a University Writing Center workshop or by visiting with a writing consultant about your work. Provide evidence of your visit to the UWC or Academic Projects Center when you turn in your work. Additionally, a +2 is awarded when a group determines that tracing to be distinctive during peer review phase of class.

EX: Exceptional. The writer has addressed the call thoughtfully and with distinction.
AC: Acceptable/meets expectations. The writer has addressed the call to a satisfactory degree.
NI: Needs improvement. The writer has minimally addressed the call.
NA: Not available. The writer has not addressed the call.

NA is assigned when 1) a tracing is not produced, printed, and ready for circulation when you arrive at class or 2) when you are absent on a day a tracing is due.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
Director of Composition
Department of English
Virginia Tech
Office: 315 Shanks Hall
Spring 2020 Office Hours: T, 12-3
Phone: +1-734-985-0485

"Let's say you were from somewhere else, seeing this Earth from space for the first time. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be satisfied with that view; I'd want to get closer, walk around on it, even get down on my hands and knees. That's how I prefer to see the Earth." —Wendell Berry, Interview with Jordan Fisher-Smith

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