Load of crap department?

Alex Beam writes on academia gone loo-ny:

When I first saw the ”Call for Papers — Toilet Papers: The Gendered Construction of Public Toilets” posted on an academic website, my beeswax detector went off. There can’t really be two professors planning to publish a book working from ”the premise that public toilets, far from being banal or simply functional, are highly charged spaces, shaped by notions of propriety, hygiene and the binary gender division” . . . can there?

Huh. He wouldn’t mock if he’d had to battle hordes of, umm, presumably male chauvinist pigs every time he wanted to take a leak.


  1. It might be about crap, but it’s definitely not a load of crap.Historiography has been so overdetermined that we do have to study the edges of things to get at the heart of power structures.If you think about the long lines women have to endure at concerts, if you think about the social mores governing toilet visits (women leaving the table to go to the w/c together), etc, it’s not hard to see that there’s a social dimension to the privy.The toilets that interest me the most, actually, are the sixteenth century ones, and how defecation and urination moved from being taboo to a more visible (but still marginal) position in public discourse. Shakespeare, Rabelais, Bruegel, etc., voices that acted in counterpoint to the suave classicizing ideals of the renaissance.Abdul-Walid

  2. I find toilets creatively ebullient. My most melodious songs have erupted while I’m on my toilet seat. My most creative essay (that was published in The Pioneer) materialized in the loo.Amrithttp://www.writingcave.com

  3. “Gendered construction of public toilets”…ha ha ha!It reminds me of a highly regarded french critic, Julia Kristeva I think she was, who once called Einstein’s equation E=MC^2 sexist, because it “priviliges” what goes fastest! And in a stunning foray into the field of hard core engineering, which could be called Quixotic if it were even a little romantic, she claimed that Fluid mechanics was “marginalized” because it was soft and feminine (why? it deals with fluids, that’s why) and solid mechanics was “priviledged”, because you know, it is solid and masculine!These duncehead postmodernists and academic feminists…they are so funny. That’s the only redeeming apsect.hey amrit, your comment was funny too. Hope to read some of your “creatively ebullient melodious songs” sometime.Sincerely,BD Charlus

  4. I think Duchamp might be a little horrified about people wanting to study toilets quite so, um, minutely. All he ever did was a put a frame around one and let people take their pot-shots:)Doesn’t the ivory tower have anything better to offer?

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