Poop 101: The Syllabus

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Editor's note: this is the syllabus from a real course that begins this semester at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


Arts of Expression: Writing the Disciplines

0504-319-10

TR 12-1:50

Building 07, 1541


Course Description

Humanity's relationship with its own excrement is complicated. Although not given much thought in day-to-day life, human feces have been the cause of huge social, technological and cultural changes, as well as the means by which humans have come to understand their relationship with the outside world and their own bodies. Human excrement can be understood from the perspective of myriad disciplines.

This class is about poop and its effects. Students will produce final projects that contribute to knowledge about the lower half of the digestive system, from the perspective of their own major. Note that coming up with a project that relates the course theme to your major will require a great deal of creative thinking on your part, but it can be done, and done well. You will meet with me individually to decide on the topic for your final project, which will include a major written component as well as a visual component. Other assignments include in-class writing assignments; a review of a book outside the course texts; a letter to a newspaper editor; a letter to your congressional representative; and an annotated bibliography of sources for your final project.

Note: Since the course is devoted to waste, with each assignment you are required to hand in not only the final version, but also a separate document of what you decided not to use to meet the final requirements. The writing process is mostly revision, and revision involves a great deal of cutting. Production must always include waste. You will turn in to me what would have otherwise been left on the cutting room floor.

The main course objective is to habituate students to using the tools of their discipline to address issues of concern to non-experts. In other words, students will learn why their discipline matters. Students will gain experience researching in their discipline and making their expertise available to a public audience.


Required Reading


Day

Topic

Reading

Assignment

Week 1

T, 9/4

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Introduction

Maxine Kumin poem

 

R, 9/6

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Individuals

"Mystery of Disgust"
"Civilization and Sludge" (handouts)

How do the first two
articles relate? (in-class writing)

Week 2

T, 9/11

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Groups

"Mystery of Disgust" "Civilization
and Sludge" (handouts)

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

R, 9/13

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

  style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Helvetica'>

Civilization and its
Discontents,
pp. 10-36

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Week 3

T, 9/18

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Repression
and sublimation

Civilization and its
Discontents,
pp. 37-63

Bring popular news article
related to major

R, 9/20

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Writing
in the disciplines

"The Sociology of
Odors" "Factors Affecting the degradation..."(handout)

Bring peer-reviewed article
related to major (in-class writing)

Week 4

T, 9/25

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Mores and taboos

Civilization and its
Discontents
, pp. 64-82

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

R, 9/27

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Discussion
of bibliography/guilt and redemption

Civilization and its
Discontents
, pp. 83-112

Analyze Freud in an area of
your expertise (in-class writing)

Week 5

T, 10/2

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Letter
to editor assignment

"Toilet Entertainment
Syste" (handout)

First bibliography
(required but not graded)

R, 10/4

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Public
health

Ghost Map style='font-size:10.0pt'>, pp. 1-55

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Week 6

T, 10/9

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Letter
to representative assignment and strategies

Ghost Map, style='font-size:10.0pt'> pp. 57-109

Letter to editor (5%)

R, 10/11

style='font-size:10.0pt'>

The
public and the private

Ghost Map style='font-size:10.0pt'>, pp. 111-190

Steven Johnson: style="mso-spacerun: yes">  Field house...p.m.

Week 7

T, 10/16

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Globalization; final assignment

Ghost Map style='font-size:10.0pt'>, pp. 191-256

Response to Johnson
(in-class writing); Letter to representative (5%)

R, 10/18

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

  style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Helvetica'>

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Meetings (today and
tomorrow)

Week 8

T, 10/23

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Book
review assignment

Poop Culture style='font-size:10.0pt'>, pp. 17-88

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

R, 10/25

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Annotated bibliography assignment

Poop Culture, style='font-size:10.0pt'>pp. 89-144

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Week 9

T, 10/30

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

  style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Helvetica'>

Poop Culture style='font-size:10.0pt'>, pp. 145-188

Book review (15%)

R, 11/1

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

style='font-size:10.0pt'>Progress report due as email attachment (required
but not graded)

Week 10

T, 11/6

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

 

Poop Culture style='font-size:10.0pt'>, pp. 189-219

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

R, 11/8

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Course wrap-up

  style='font-size:10.0pt'>

Annotated bibliography
(15%)

Week 11

style='font-size:10.0pt'>Presentation of final projects during final exam
time (TBA)

15 Comments on "Poop 101: The Syllabus"

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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The Ghost Map looks very interesting. There are copies at Amazon available, and I might have to get one of the used ones. Oh, Dave, there you are, too! Well, this is cool, your book is a requirement for a college course.

Did you know about this prior?


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Fudgepump's picture
l 100+ points
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Fascinating, Dave. How does the required reading list compare to the source literature you managed to find in researching "PC"?
Also very interesting that the prof wants to see the "excrement" of the students' creative process. This sounds like a unique request re: research papers/ projects.
When I leave the keyboard, I'm going to my copy of PC and check out pp 189-219. You've hit the big time, my man. You are "cited".

Mary Queen of Scats's picture
l 100+ points
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Yessiree...now we can really say we knew Dave before he was shit!

Congrats on being required reading Dave!

_______
No no, honey. Kitties don't sit on the potty.

Bad kitty! Bathtubs are NOT litterboxes!

DungDaddy's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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Where do I sign up?

A. Coward's picture
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Wow, makes me want to go back to university!

This is the first time I've ever seen the word "poop" in a university course syllabus!

The Thunderous Crapper 63's picture
k 500+ points
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Dave we are all proud of ya there fella! When your book has made a university's required reading list now THAT is something you can be proud of! This is a great thing for America. A great thing for Poop Report! I am honored to give your book the ONLY spot on the top of my toilet tank! Congratulations!
_______
The Thunderous Crapper 63 Enjoying home toilet advantage since 2004!

AHHHHHEMMMMMMMMMM JUST CLEARING MY THROAT!! ;)

PoopinGirl's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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I clicked on the link for "The Toilet Entertainment System" on the "Required Reading" list above, and read the pdf that was posted at that site. It is quite an interesting and unusual idea, this Toilet Entertainment System that they mention.

Deja Poo's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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Wow, Dave. This is wonderful. Now you can sell your book in university bookstores and charge textbook prices for it. The gold in your book isn't just corn!
_______
Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Miss Simone Scat's picture
k 500+ points
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Dave, You sure make us proud!!!
Producing waste since 1967

Producing waste since 1967

shitwit's picture
k 500+ points
0
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Oh! This totally makes me want to move to Rochester and enroll at RIT!!! Oh yeah - studying poop while at college! Wait a minute... I think I did poop studies at college... there were all kinds of shit to examine and experience, at least what I remember. But getting college credit for the study of poo? That's worth the $40K/year for tuition, etc.

_______
Rock-n-roll! Poopy-poo!

Rock-n-roll! Poopy-poo!

Inspector Pu P. Stayne's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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Do you get extra credit for show-and-tell?

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Shit, I wish I was enrolled in your course! I'm a literature person myself and couldn't fathom a course on crap. Fantastic.

Love to Poop's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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Wow! Who knew!

Kimmy!!! Get your thumb out of there! I'm about to blow!

______________________________________
Kimmy!!! Get your thumb out of there! I'm about to blow!

Anonymous Coward's picture
0
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Just got Ultimate Cleanse took the two pill
and iam ready. How long will it take to get things going.

Anonymous Coward's picture
0
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I am not even 13 yet and I am suffering, I get detention for shitting for a half hour, and at home I spend hours screaming on the box...i know how you guys feel, I have IBS and an inflamed esophagus.