A Boston College professor brought furries into a lecture and instructed his literature students to create their own "fursonas."
Christopher Polt is an associate professor at Boston College — which describes itself as "grounded in the ideals that inspired our Jesuit founders." According to his profile on the institution's website, Polt has "taught courses on ancient and modern comedy, nature and the environment in the ancient world, and translation theory and practice, as well as a broad range of language courses from introductory to advanced." Polt currently teaches a class titled "Beast Literature."
Boston College describes the "Beast Literature" course as:
From Mother Gooses fairy tales to lolcats, we imagine animals often speaking as we do. But what are we saying when we use animals to talk with and about one another? And what does literature featuring articulate animals say about our attitudes towards humans, animals, and the lines we draw between them? This course explores beast literature in its various forms (fable, comedy, the novel, epic, debate poetry, etc), examining its incarnations through ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe, and the modern world.
Fox News reported, "The class schedule lists names for each week’s lesson, including 'Sexy Beasts,' 'Dog Saints and Lambs of God,' 'The Golden A** 3, Gender and Control.'"
Polt reportedly assigned his literature students to watch "The Fandom" — a documentary that "dives headfirst into the imaginative world of 'furries,' fans of the anthropomorphic arts" and "traces the history of the fandom from its roots in the 1970s to the global community it is today."
Polt allegedly instructed his student to create their own "fursonas."
Fursonas are the personalized animal characters that someone selects for their furry persona.
"A furry's fursona is drawn from animals in nature or mythology that exhibit certain characteristics that they personally identify with, and they project their personalized fursonas, in appearance and behavior, in social interactions within the furry community in a variety of ways, such as through costume design, interactive role play, artwork, and creative writing," according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
On Feb. 23, Polt invited four furries to engage with his literature students during the class.
Phys.org defines furries as, "People who have an interest in anthropomorphism, which specifically refers to giving human characteristics to animals. In its most distilled form, furries are a group of people who formed a community—or fandom—because they have a common interest in anthropomorphic media, friendships and social inclusion."
Polt posted a photo of himself hugging the four furries who were invited to his literature class. The tenured Boston College professor also shared a photo of the furries sitting at desks in his classroom with the caption: "This is the most amazing class I've ever had."
According to an archived Twitter conversation, Polt was asked, "How many if any were furry or furry adjacent before the class?"
Polt replied, "One is already, and at least one other today said something along the lines of 'I...think I might be furry?' One more shared a fursona and explanation that almost made me cry, and I hope they sit with it and see if it can help."
Polt told a Twitter user that the fursona assignment was a "planned part of the course."
Polt gave his students cakes the read: "Sorry for making you furries."
Before protecting his Twitter account, Polt reportedly defended his furry class by tweeting: "I wholly stand by my teaching decisions and welcome *any* member of the administration to attend *any* of my classes, including the furry ones."
Polt allegedly identifies as an alpaca furry named "Tofte." Polt tweeted in 2021, "I first met alpacas about 10 years ago and instantly felt a connection."
Polt's Twitter account — which has been made private — proclaims that he is "working to preserve & share furry culture." He advises people to visit the "Fang, Feather, and Fin" — a website "dedicated to tracing and archiving the history of the furry fandom."
Polt's purported profile on the furry website reads:
Tofte Alpaca (he/him) is an Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Boston College, where he teaches courses on Greek, Latin, and ancient Mediterranean civilizations. His favorite course to teach is “Beast Literature,” which he developed to explore anthropomorphic and talking animals in ancient, Medieval European, and modern cultures. His academic research focuses on Latin poetry, Roman theater and spectacle, and animals in the Greek and Roman world. For Fang, Feather, and Fin, he’s especially eager to document furry media, especially comics and literature, and to record and understand the personal experiences of furries and their relationship to furry-ness.
In 2022, Polt was purportedly a featured speaker at Anthrocon — an annual furry convention that takes place in Pittsburgh every summer.
Polt was scheduled to give a lecture titled: "Ancient Fursuiting: A Brief History of Animal Costume, Disguise, and Ritual."
Polt's alleged profile on the furry convention website states:
Hiya! My name is Tofte, a.k.a. Christopher Polt — I'm an alpaca and a professor of Classical Studies who has taught at UNC–Chapel Hill, Carleton College, USF–Tampa, and currently Boston College. I specialize in Latin poetry, Roman entertainment and spectacle, anthropomorphic animals in the ancient world, and the reception of Greece and Rome in animated film.
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