By Caleb Parke, ,
Published February 13, 2018
Harvard University has a class that focuses solely on feces.
The Ivy League professor who teaches the class was not available to comment, but the course description is clear: “This course proposes to take this fecal presence seriously and to attend to the things it has to tell us…”
Annabel Kim, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literature at Harvard, teaches the four-credit course “Cacaphonies: Toward an Excremental Poetics” which features “a diverse range of scatological texts” from the 20th and 21st centuries.
"French literature, from the Middle Ages to today, has been consistently and remarkably scatological," the class description 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."
The goal of the course is to help graduate students at America’s oldest university “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 description says.
The course catalog compares writing to digestion: “The task of excretion -- we excrete what we take in, processing and giving it new form -- is also the task of literature.”
Critiquing the works in the class will “conceal, contain, sanitize, and compel culture.”
The class will also look at how feces affects women in French literature, including “the gendering of constipation as a feminine condition.”
Finally, they will look at Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development involving “the significance of fecal matter to the dominant one” as an example
Kim also teaches “Queer Fictions” among other literature courses.
“I am interested in feminist writing and theory, the novel…and the ethical and political implications of writing and reading fiction,” Kim says on her bio page. “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.”
While reading assignments will be in French, the class will be taught in English.
Harvard University declined to comment when contacted by Fox News.