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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1 IntroductionHarvey MolotchRest Stop Part I2 Dirty SpaceRuth Barcan Rest StopBryan Reynolds3 Which Way to Look? Exploring Latrine Use in the Roman World Zena Kamash Rest Stop4 Potty TrainingIrus Braverman Rest StoPart I5 Only Dogs Are Free to PeeLaura Noren Rest Stop6 Creating a Nonsexist Restroom Clara Greed Rest Stop7 Sex SeparationTerry S. Kogan Rest Stop8 Pissing without PitDavid Serlin Rest StopPart III: Building in the Future9 The Restroom RevolutionOlga Gershenson Rest StopJonathan Head10 Why Not Abolish Laws of Urinary Segregation? Mary Anne Case Rest Stop11 Entangled with a UserBarbara Penner Rest Stop: Toilet Bloom @ Bryant Park 12 On Not Making HistoryHarvey MolotchNotes About the ContributorsIndex

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Although what happens in the toilet usually stays in the toilet, this brilliant, revelatory, and often funny book aims to bring it all out into the open, proving that profound and meaningful history can be made even in the can

About the Author

Harvey Molotch is Professor of Sociology at New York University. His books include the classic, Urban Fortunes (with John Logan) and more recently, Against Security: How We Go Wrong at Airports, Subways, and Other Sites of Ambiguous Danger. Laura Noren is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at New York University.


This profound and surprising book takes up a subject usually kept private: the public restroom. These scholarly but mostly accessible new examinations of the topic provide fascinating insight on cultural notions of cleanliness and filth, public and private. Molotch (sociology, New York Univ.) and Noren (doctoral candidate, sociology, New York Univ.) show that the public restroom also turns out to be a lens through which to examine attitudes about gender and class. The contributing scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including history, sociology, urban planning, and cultural studies, leave no stone unturned in an engrossing exploration of the politics, economics, and history of the lowly toilet, with pieces that are wide-ranging without seeming incoherent. There are playful touches throughout, including "rest stops" (brief texts by the editors accompanied by images), but the seriousness of the subject does not escape the reader. Which people have access to adequate facilities and under what conditions is a matter of legal, cultural, medical, and ethical consequence. VERDICT Scholars from a range of disciplines including those listed above, as well as women's studies, law, and architecture, will appreciate this wonderful book. Although some chapters may prove too specialized, general readers will also find much to enjoy here.-Rachel Bridgewater, Reed Coll. Lib., OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"An incredibly smart book about the importance of the toilet, especially for urban dwellers. I will never look at a toilet the same again." Mitchell Duneier, author of Sidewalk "The politics of the loo, sexual as well as cultural, are taken up in a new book, Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing, edited by Harvey Molotch and Laura Noren. It aims to tackle the language around toilets and open up debates that have gone on, so to speak, behind closed doors and that never get resolved. Why, for example, are we so resistant to unisex toilets? How bad would it be to have men and women going to the loo side by side? ... With contributions by sociologists, anthropologists and architects... the ideas are fascinating." - Gemma Tipton, Irish Times "[T]his book offers precise insights--want to keep a public bathroom clean? Stick some flowers there. And it often cleverly illuminates what's in plain sight--say, the reasons why New York has so few female cabbies--but is usually ignored or assiduously avoided." - The Atlantic

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