Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology
Committee Member/Second Reader
Committee Member/Third Reader
Walking into a public bathroom, often we are faced with interesting, unique, and easily ignorable cases of residual humanity: bathroom graffiti. These writings, academically known as latrinalia, offer scholars a unique portrait of the people who form an immediate culture and community. By providing opportunities to produce individual and collective identities, local folklore, and contesting narratives of space, latrinalia allows authors to carve out personal or cultural place out of the impersonal materiality of space. Utilizing traditional methods of ethnographic fieldwork, latrinalia in the men’s bathrooms of three bars along the famed Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas is approached in this work as folk authorship that allows for free discourse, largely due to the privacy and anonymity afforded by the bathroom space. Through this Honors thesis, the writings on the walls of the men’s bathrooms of Dickson Street Pub, Ryleigh’s/Wasabi, and Roger’s Rec are analyzed to understand how distinct understandings of place are constructed, contested, and constantly reconfigured. From the fieldwork conducted, including writing analysis and interpretations from respective bartenders, it is determined that through the cacophony of writings, there is a vast network of differing understandings of place, fixed in the material reality of the physical bathroom space. By creating latrinalia, authors can mark and claim their own understanding of place in bars on Dickson Street and can anchor themselves in time and space in a manner that performs to the bathroom “audience” the memories, feelings, and spectacle of their experiences on the Street, in a style that holds them in place in ways that their physical bodies cannot be.
Latrinalia, Graffiti, Space and Place, Folklore, Fayetteville, Memory
Brown, E. S. (2023). “Man, I Will Miss This Place”: An Ethnographic Account of Place-Making on Dickson Street Through Men’s Bathroom Graffiti. Anthropology Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/anthuht/7