Harvard University class focuses on the ‘ubiquitous’ in the stools in the French literature

Professor Annabel Kim, pictured on the front of the entrance gate in Harvard Yard in Harvard University.


Harvard University has a class that focuses solely on the stool.

The Ivy League professor who teaches the class was not available for comment, but the course description is clear: “This course proposes to this fecal presence to take seriously and to take part in the things that it has to tell us…”

Annabel Kim, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literature from Harvard, teaches the four-credit course “Cacaphonies: in the Direction of an Excremental Poetics” that “a diverse range of scatological texts” of the 20th and 21st century.

“The French literature of the middle Ages till today, is consistently and remarkably scatological,” the class description reads. “Fecal matter is present everywhere in the work and authors that we consider canonical (e.g. the fabliaux, Rabelais, de Sade, Beckett, Celine) and yet his presence is noteworthy immersed or passed over in readerly and critical reception of modern and contemporary French literature.”

The course description for “Cacaphonies: in the Direction of an Excremental Poetry.”

The aim of the course is to help students at America’s oldest university “formulation and realization of an original approach of the literature that, in the place of excrement as a site of horror, takes it as a site of creation,” the description says.

The course catalog compares the writing of the digestive system: “The task of excretion — we excrete what we take from it, the processing and display of new forms — it is also the task of the literature.”

Criticize the work in the classroom, “to hide, contain, decontaminate, and force culture.”

The class will also look at how the stools of influence on women in French literature, including “the gendering of constipation as a female disorder.”

Finally, they will look at Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, in which “the meaning of fecal matter to be the dominant” as an example

Kim also teaches “Queer Fictions” among other literature courses.


“I’m interested in feminist writing and theory, the novel…and the ethical and political implications of writing and reading of 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 century, despite the myriad ways it is of the killing of the 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.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

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