Why I’m Donating My Body to the Humanities

Facing down one’s mortality can be trying, but there is a sense of agency and even comfort to be found in making plans for your death. Some people are wooed by the romance of a carved gravestone in a hilly cemetery, others wish to be cremated and taken away by the wind or waves, and others still seek purpose by donating their bodies to “science” to be poked around in or whatever. That’s all well and good, but much like when I was in college, these paths are not for me. I have thought long and I have thought deeply, and I have decided that when my soul slips of out this corporeal form, I will be donating my body to the humanities.


Some of the finest days of my life thus far were spent in those hallowed halls of the noble institution of higher learning. There I discovered Frantz Fanon, Louis Althusser, bell hooks, and then I went on to work in recruiting at an ad agency, but when I die, my body will return to whence my mind came. Sorry if that sentence was confusing; I haven’t written anything besides emails since I graduated, except of course my will in which I indicated that my corpse be shipped off to my alma mater with a sign saying “For critical theory and/or comparative lit”.



Some of those with whom I’ve shared my proposed arrangements have pushed back. They’ve said, “You can’t do that,” “That isn’t a thing,” or “Is your therapist still on vacation?” These same small-thinkers have encouraged me to donate my body to science, insisting that doing so will actually have a positive impact on the world. But do you think I want some loser med students who have never read Anne Carson rummaging around in my guts so they can “cure cancer” or whatever it is those meatheads do? Fat chance. I want English majors to describe in vivid detail the macabre beauty of my blue-hued flesh. I want anthro students to take notes on my tattoos. I want philosophy bros nowhere fucking near me.


At the end of the day, donating my body to the humanities isn’t about me. It’s about, well, humanity. If my decomposing form inspires the next great American novel or a groundbreaking psychoanalytical journal, then so be it. I am donating my body in pursuit of knowledge, in pursuit of ideas that are difficult to think, truths that are hard to swallow. I am donating my body to the humanities because if not me, who?


Also, it’s way cheaper than having a wing of the library named after me — I checked!