by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Graduate students studying at America’s oldest university can sign up to learn about feces.
Harvard University offers the four-credit course “Cacaphonies: Toward an Excremental Poetics,” which vows to take “fecal presence seriously” in French literature.
Students getting their masters at Harvard can sign up for the course taught by Annabel Kim, an assistant professor of romance languages and literatures. The course will also study constipation and whether it is unfairly “gendered” as female.
“French literature, from the Middle Ages to today, has been consistently and remarkably scatological,” according to the Harvard course catalog. “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.”