Colloquially and perhaps paradoxically, the term bathroom does not primarily refer to a space of bathing. In fact, one typically looks for a bathroom less to get clean than to deposit the stuff from which one must be cleansed. The bathroom is a waste space, a place where excretion is hidden away but also deeply governed. For millennia, innumerable spoken and unspoken rules have constrained who and when and how one can use the bathroom. But those rules have also been contested. As such, bathrooms are spaces of refuse and refusal. They are political spaces and spaces of possibility.

This essay may be found on page 23 of the printed volume.

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