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Conferences and symposia

Taking the twentieth anniversary of the World Toilet Organization and of World Toilet Day on 19 November 2021 as its occasion, this conference on “everybody’s business” - organized by Prof. Dr. Sabine Sielke and Prof. Dr. Eva Boesenberg at Humboldt University Berlin - explored the cultural politics of toilets and the topic of restroom cultures in transdisciplinary, intercultural perspectives and features contributions from the fields of literary and cultural studies, history, sociology, and other pertinent disciplines.

Located in domestic realms as well as between public and private spheres, toilets are secret and discreet, liminal, as much as openly political, and often contested spaces. They offer safety and comfort for the more privileged, allow for a variety of transgressive moves, and have been an issue of politics for centuries. Toilets facilitate movement through public spaces, significantly co-constructing social hierarchies related to matters of gender, sexuality, race, class, age, religion, ability etc. Who has access to (public) toilets and who does not? Whose needs are served, and how? These questions are currently the subject of legal battles and controversial debates not only in the US. At the same time, restrooms are sites of potential and social interaction in which physical needs translate into intimacies at different levels. Toilets shape-shift according to design and architecture, constituting a huge consumer market, and they are culturally specific. Depending on how we dispose of bodily waste, sanitation also has considerable ecological repercussions. Engaging “everybody’s business,” then, the conference not only interrogated past and present practices, but also parts of our possible futures.

For more information, please visit:

And read the (rather enjoyable) article on the conference which appeared in Berlin’s city magazine Tip: screenshot

Knowledge Landscapes North America

62nd Annual Conference of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA/GAAS) | May 28–31, 2015 | University of Bonn



NOSTALGIE: Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf ein Phänomen der Moderne

(May 16, 2014) 



Knowledge Ecologies_Symposium_Poster
Knowledge Ecologies North America:
from Metaphor to Method

(May 2-3, 2013)




 Retro poster
Systemtheoretische Perspektiven 
auf das Gedächtnis der Popkultur 

(July 6, 2012) 





Mimicry as Communication

(April 19, 2012)





9/11 poster

9/11 -
Ten Years After, Looking Ahead

(September 8-11, 2011)  





For earlier conferences and symposia, please see the archive.