Please circulate to interested parties




You are invited to attend a unique international conference

Merde Alors! An interdisciplinary conference

on excrement, past, present and future


Photo: River Cam, Sewage pollution protest, 2022 / Little Blue Dot


VENUE: School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS, University of London], Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG. Tube: Russell Square.


DATE: Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October 2023 from 10.00am to 6.00pm


FORMAT: In-person conference, with options for distance participation.


REGISTRATION for the Conference is free and is open to the general public. However, all attendees should register at the following events page:



Hosting: Our conference is hosted by the Food Studies Centre, SOAS, University of London, and we extend our thanks to them.



Further information and programme: #shitologyconference


E-mail: [email protected]



Discussion List: If you wish to join our JISC discussion list, you will find us at




Hashtag: #shitologyconference










1. Breaking the silence on gendered sanitation taboos across urban Africa

Adriana Allen [University College London] [Abstract]


2. From the privy to the paper: Excrement, public health, and discourses of race in the Progressive Era U.S. South

Jared Kazik Asser [University of Georgia] [Abstract]


3. 'Boys will be boys': the putto pissatore in European Renaissance art

Charles Avery [Independent researcher] [Abstract]


4. Keeping soils healthy with shit: What we can learn from Chinese farmers

Nicole Elizabeth Barnes [Duke University] [Abstract]


5. ADCO and the case of a patented artificial manure

Tad Brown [University of Cambridge] [Abstract]


6. Take a break: Backdoor toilet defecation messages in industrial spaces

Tania Casimiro [Nova University of Lisbon] and Joao Sequeira [Universidade do Minho] [Abstract]


Cess pits and society

John Collis [University of Sheffield] [Abstract]


7. From gunpowder to fertiliser: How Confederates used human waste during the American Civil War and Reconstruction

Andrew Loyd Craig [University of Georgia] [Abstract]


8. The case against Anglia Water

Al Dixon [Little Blue Dot] [Abstract]


9. The 'Dirty Strike' of Irish Republican prisoners in British jails, 1976-81

Ed Emery [SOAS, University of London] [Abstract]


10. The remarkable preservation of excrement in the archaeological record and what can be done with it

Eleanor Green [University of York and Natural History Museum, London] [Abstract]


11. Excrement in the City: Tokyo, 1867 - 1933

David L. Howell [Harvard University] [Abstract]


12. Shit and Civilisation - Western reports on nightsoil in 18th and 19th century China

Joerg H. Huesemann [Leipzig University] [Abstract]


13. Between economic and hygienic reasons. Recovering and using excrement in Italian cities and countryside in the late 19th century. 

Luciano Maffi [University of Parma] and Manuel Vaquero Pineiro [University of Perugia] [Abstract]


14. Brown Gold? Reconciling existing practices and new innovations for shit re-use

Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies) and Tanvi Bhatkal (Institute of Development Studies), et al. [Abstract]


15. Merda Pompeiana

Laura Nissin [Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies] [Abstract]


16. 'Shit business is serious business': Isaac Durojaiye Agbetusin ('Otunba Gaddafi') and the business of mobile toilets in Lagos (Nigeria) since the 1990s

Ayodeji Olukoju [University of Lagos] [Abstract]


17. How latrines lost the war: Race, waste, disease, and demoralisation in the Confederate army

Benjamin Roy [University of Georgia] [Abstract]


18. Dump and pump: The impact of COVID-19 and income on septic system pumping patterns in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia


Julia Sharapi [University of Georgia] [Abstract]


19. Building protection: Public bathrooms and boundary making in United States history

Bryant Simon [Temple University, Department of History] [Abstract]


20. There is something fenny () about warfare in the Song (960-1279) and Ming (1368-1644): Bio-chemical weapons of Imperial China

Benjamin Avichai Katz Sinvany [Columbia University] [Abstract]





PLEASE NOTE: We shall be publishing the proceedings of the Conference, both on-line and in print, and including additional solicited articles.



[email protected]





Last updated: 17 September 2023

Website: Universitas adversitatis