We all do it multiple times a day without giving it a second thought. Everyone has to go. But while easy access to a private, safe toilet is simply taken for granted in our part of the world, two-thirds of the world’s population do not have adequate sanitation. 2.6 billion people living today do not have access to a toilet. As a result, millions of people die every year because of disease spread by bodily waste–more than any other single cause of death. In this course, students will be introduced to the basic methods and principles of the social sciences. We will focus on a topic that is intensely personal, and yet has far-reaching social, cultural, and political significance: bathrooms. We will examine our topic from historical, anthropological, psychological, philosophical, political, and economic perspectives. Students will gain a greater understanding of one of the world’s least-talked-about yet most pressing health problems, and at the same time familiarize themselves with the analytical tools and methodologies that will aid them in this understanding.
Ronald Cohen; Karen Gover