Cornell rebrands 'fatness' course after controversy

The initial course, 'Have You Eaten Yet?: QTBIPOC Care,' has been relabeled as 'Care and Marginalization,' which will focus on marginalized communities through an intersectional framework.

Cornell appears to have amended the first-year writing seminar after recent media coverage detailing the course offering.

A Cornell Department of Performing and Media Arts first-year writing seminar formerly titled, “Have You Eaten Yet?: QTBIPOC [Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color] Care,” has been repackaged after media coverage in late August.

The seminar is now called “Care and Marginalization“ and no longer uses the term “fatness” in its updated course description. References to “Lizzo” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” have also been removed. The course number for Have You Eaten Yet? was PMA 1173, which now belongs to Care and Marginalization. 

[RELATED: ‘Fat Studies’ course deems ‘weightism’ a ‘social justice issue’]

There are no mentions of the former course on Cornell’s website. According to The College Fix, the original seminar description indicated that students would study the “particular ways in which queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC) folks have given, received, and experienced care through food and other means.”

“In general, Cornell students are required to take two semesters of First-Year Writing Seminars,” the school’s website indicates. However, a handful of majors do not need to fulfill the requirement. 

The university provides a comprehensive 49-page document with a complete list of possible seminar options.

The document no longer includes any reference to “PMA 1173,” which The College Fix initially reported on Aug. 18. Searches for Have You Eaten Yet? and Care and Marginalization also yield no results. 

The same is not true for other parts of the university’s website.

The course’s web page features the new title and description. Similarly, the Cornell Performing and Media Arts course list includes the repackaged seminar.

Through the internet archive, the Wayback MachineCampus Reform verified that the course was indeed listed as “Have You Eaten Yet? QTBIPOC” on May 19.

The new course description now states that those enrolled will consider “the intersections between race, gender, and sexuality through an investigation of the cultural productions and political theories of marginalized communities.”

It continues: “The overarching questions we will explore in this course are: How have activisms by marginalized communities influenced and shaped our understandings of care? What are the approaches, methods, and forms of knowledge that inform new turns in the fields of care and kinship studies?”

[RELATED: Fat studies is the field that teaches students to view obesity as ‘oppression’]

Previously, the instructor for the seminar was Ariel Dela Cruz, who uses the pronouns “they” and “he.” Dela Cruz’s research “operates at the intersections of queer studies, trans studies, Filipinx diasporic studies, performance, and care work and is grounded in their experiences as a queer, trans, and Filipinx community and care worker,” according to his Cornell biography.

Currently, the school lists the instructor Care and Marginalization as “Staff.” 

Campus Reform contacted Cornell and Dela Cruz for comment and will update this story accordingly.