Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Project Proposal

Emma Sullivan
Project Proposal

Potential argument(s): In my paper, I want to explore just why our society has become such a carnivorous, toxic environment when it comes to eating and perhaps shed a light on why we are so resistant to change. To do so, I plan to highlight two documentaries that have been made which paradigm lifestyle changes people have made, and talk about why they are effective in both their information, and persuasiveness. I am also exploring the possibility of having 2 “subjects” watch these documentaries and answer a series of questions in order to examine whether these films invoke change on either individual. This experiment is tentative, but definitely something I may include in my paper. The purpose of this paper is both to inform and enlighten, and will explore the idea we discussed many times in class of how things are, and how things ought to be.
Significance: In this paper, I plan to compile various statistics pertaining to health and food in America today in order to emphasize the need for change. In this way, I hope to get the reader thinking about the need for change as well as the factors holding change back, which we need to overcome on an individual and societal level.
Possible Counterarguments: As of where my argument stands right now, some possible counterarguments that could arise include the idea that we have the freedom to choose what we eat individually, and that right should not be controlled or mandated in any way. When, in fact it is mandated currently by our government, which allows for the level and poor quality of agriculture that goes on in America today. I also plan to absolve the idea that it would be impossible to shut down these big-business corporations with proposals on how to make our food industry more small-scale and local. Essentially, I plan on not just saying how things ought to be—but also giving examples of how to make the “ought to be” happen.
"Being a Vegetarian." Brown University. Brown University, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. This source provides some simple definitions/facts that I may include in the introductory paragraphs of my paper.
"Compassion for the Animals." Animal Rights and Vegetarianism- Why Be a Vegetarian? N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. This source is one that provides several general arguments for becoming a vegetarian, which I will be highlighting and referencing throughout my paper. I will most likely be conduction further research on several of them.
Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead. Cross, Joe., et al. Brooklyn, NY: Reboot Media, 2011. This is one of the 2 documentaries I plan on utilizing in my paper. It illustrates tangible and drastic change made by one person, which affected many.
Graham Hill: Why I'm a Weekday Vegetarian. Perf. Graham Hill. TED Talks, 2010.
This source brings to light some of the environmental benefits of becoming a vegetarian, and adds another component to my argument that is aside from the issue of health alone.
Vegucated. Dir. Marisa Miller Wolfson. Perf. Marisa Miller Wolfson. Kind Green           Planet/Get Vegucated, 2011.
This is the other documentary which I plan on utilizing and potentially showing to experimenters.
I also plan to do more in depth research on several statistics, companies, etc. I will discern what areas need further research as I begin drafting my paper.
Rough Outline:
Paragraph one: an introduction, including some shocking and worrisome facts about the state of our health and food system as a whole today. I also plan to clearly define my argument.
Paragraph two: I hope to include research on vegetarianism/veganism, as well as a further investigation of what we are doing wrong as a country by eating meat
Paragraph three: I will introduce the question of why people have such a hard time changing, and introduce Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and begin discussing this movie (this may be split into multiple paragraphs)
Paragraph 4: I will also introduce Vegucated and discuss its cause/what we should take from it, and also look at some ways its effective.
Paragraph 5: I will introduce the possible survey I hope to conduct, and give a brief over view on the subjects.
Paragraphs 6-9: In approximately 3 paragraphs I plan to examine the findings and make something of them in relation to the need to change—this will all be depending on what I find.
Paragraph 10: Potential counterarguments may come into play for a paragraph, which will introduce some proposals from both others and myself on how we can change
Paragraphs ?: Potential solutions and conclusion of what to take from this

*Note that many of these “paragraphs” will most likely split into several paragraphs, and will of course be returning and emphasizing the idea of how things are and things ought to be throughout the paper.

1 comment:

  1. This is fine, but quite broad. As you go, you'll need to find ways of focusing it. While there are disadvantages in just basing your essay on what two people think of a couple documentaries, there are advantages, too. The big problems are well documented (what can you hope to add to what's already there, re: just explaining how our agricultural system makes us sick), but our failure to change is disturbing and interesting - so focusing upon the changes that particular individuals make or fail to make does really have promise.

    The narrower the better, as far as I'm concerned. Strictly as an example, there wouldn't be anything wrong with an essay exploring why it's so hard to get a tax imposed on sweetened beverages even in places like Berkeley: this essay might be more focused on policy (here's how we can convince people to accept the tax) or more focused on the philosophical side of the situation (here's what our "principled" insistence on overconsumption *means*).

    It would be kind of funny to start out with Thanksgiving - maybe with the role of mechanized agriculture & processed food in what was once the harvest festival of people who farmed the land themselves. Regardless of whether you start watching a person watch a documentary, or analyze how Thanksgiving dinner is made (farm, factory and table), you want to find a focused way into your larger argument. I know it's the big picture that really inspires you, but the way we make people see big problems from fresh angles is by starting small.


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