Title page for ETD etd-11012011-101720

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Dick McGeough, Danielle
URN etd-11012011-101720
Title Performing Toilets: Putting Matter Into Place
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bowman, Ruth Laurion Committee Chair
Bowman, Michael Committee Member
Hall, Rachel Committee Member
Regis, Helen Committee Member
Shaffer, Tracy Stephenson Committee Member
Murphy, James L. Dean's Representative
  • performance studies
  • activism
  • carnivalesque protest
  • waste managment
Date of Defense 2011-10-28
Availability unrestricted
In this study, I place toilets and toilet practices center stage. Each chapter begins with and is compelled by a performance event in which a toilet plays a central role, such as the display of toilets in museum settings, a festival celebrating the building of public toilet blocks, and a Big Squat event, in which people gather en masse to squat collectively for one minute in recognition of the millions that lack access to toilets. By means of performance, the toilet is transferred from the backstage to center stage. Out of place, the toilet defamiliarizes and refunctions the body’s techniques, proprieties, and ceremonies of the body. I explore the body at the level of its practices and move from “body to self to society” (Frank 47), thus understanding the body as a bearer of social patterns and structures. By focusing on the performance of toilets, I associate the toilet with the artistic and generative possibilities of culture-making, aiming to refunction the toilet as an object that encourages productive communication rather than a taboo object that silences and represses interaction. Broadly, I am interested in how performing toilets might serve to counter disabling disciplinary norms, encourage collective action, and bring about generative change for people who desire it.
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