I just completed revisions on an article titled “What Happens When We Flush?” that will appear in the September edition of Anthropology Now. You can read a pre-print version of it on my Academia.edu site. The article discusses how the modern flush toilet has perpetuated the illusion that human waste can be made to “disappear.” Examining the industrial origins of the flush toilet, I point out some of its problematic consequences as a model of sanitation in the contemporary world. Using examples from Pre-Columbian Amazonia and 19th century East Asia, I highlight alternative models of managing human excreta that have proven benefits for agricultural production, which might serve to reorient human relations to excrement in industrialized societies today.
Published by nckawa
I'm a cultural and environmental anthropologist with interests in biodiversity management and smallholder agriculture in rural Amazonia. I've conducted research on agrobiodiversity management, anthropogenic soils, and community-based conservation. Currently, I'm also interested in the ways that farmers rely upon social networks, local ecological knowledge, and agrobiodiversity management to contend with the uncertainties of global climate change. View all posts by nckawa