Now students at the oldest University of America – Harvard – can now take a special class about feces and waste. What a crappy class!
Graduate students at Harvard are now being offered a four credit course titled “Cacaphonies: Toward an Excremental Poetics,” a course which aims to take “fecal presence seriously” in French literature. Yes, the finest graduate minds of our nation, and even the world, are being offered a class about French poop. The class is being taught by Annabel Kim, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures. She has a B.A. in French and Art History from Williams College, and a Ph.D. in French from Yale Her parents must be so proud.
The course description reads, “French literature, from the Middle Ages to today, has been consistently and remarkably scatological,” the Harvard course catalog reads. “Fecal matter is omnipresent in works and authors that we consider canonical (e.g. the fabliaux, Rabelais, de Sade, Beckett, Celine) and yet its presence has been remarkably submerged or passed over in readerly and critical reception of modern and contemporary French literature. This course proposes to take this fecal presence seriously and to attend to the things it has to tell us (hence the plurality of cacaphonies [sic]) by starting with the following premise: If literature is excrement, then the canon is a chamber pot.”
The course also focuses on the “diverse range of scatological texts.” Students will be theorizing an “excremental poetics where excretion provides a model for the process of writing. The task of excretion, which translates into concrete form our experience of the world (we excrete what we take in, processing and giving it new form), is also the task of literature,” according to the course catalog.
The study would also let a “new interrogation and critique of the canon.” Aside from all the crap, the course would further “approach the question of gender and writing.” So, are they saying Gender Studies is crap? I’m on board with that one!
“Provide another angle from which to approach the question of gender and writing, as gender organizes both literature (e.g. the paucity of canonical women writers) and defecation (e.g. the gendering of constipation as a feminine condition),” the course catalog stated.
Lastly, the course would be offering an “alternative theory of the significance of fecal matter” to the Sigmund Freud’s bizarre and perverted sexual theories of psychoanalysis.
“The goal of the course is to begin to articulate and realize an original approach to literature that, rather than take feces as a site of disgust, takes it as a site of creation,” the course catalog states.
Kim’s research interests also includes feminist writing and theory. Readings for the course would be in French. “While I specialize in 20th- and 21st-century French literature, I have a soft spot for literature from the 18th and 19th centuries, despite the myriad ways it has of killing off its women,” Kim’s Harvard staff page reads. Kim also specializes and teaches the course “Queer Fictions.”