goto Appendx main menu Sexuality and Appendx :
Bryan Reynolds
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 This was not the first time that I encountered such an act of architectural intervention.  But it was the first time, because of my own pressing need to defecate, that I realized the ironic ramifications of removing the doors from the toilet stalls.  The most capacious and centrally located room marked for "Men" in Harvard University's Science Center is potentially the highest trafficked facility of its kind on the campus.  The Science Center is a multifunctional building containing various lecture halls and administrative offices, computer and audiovisual services, and a sizable cafeteria and library.  Given the popular utilization of the Science Center, why is its chief men's room so notoriously unpopular?  Simply put, most people would rather defecate in privacy, in a toilet stall with a locking door, than defecate while showcased in a doorless stall before anyone who might happen to be in the room.  But the lack of privacy is not all that is signified by the conspicuous absence of the stall doors in this men's room, doors that obviously were present at some point in history, as indicated by the remaining parts to their hinges.1 next page 

The founding editors of Appendx "wish to create a journal utilizing formats of critique/book review, critical dialogue, and critical essay in order to subject current architectural discourse to the fundamental realities of race, gender, and class stratifications."2  This project calls for an investigation of previously "veiled discourses," the ignored or unexpected cultural and ideological residue, faultlines, schisms, and omissions in architectural discourse, where attitudes toward certain "fundamental realities" are often expressed elusively, subtextually, ambiguously, or paradoxically.  As participants in contemporary architectural discourse, their "statement of intent" and "journal description" necessarily invite such a critique.  I will therefore take this opportunity to demonstrate that while these declarations, like the men's room in the Science Center, reveal a curious and serious lack, this lack, unlike that of the Science Center men's room, is one that seems unintentional and is most readily experienced by the reader unfamiliar with its theoretical contextualization. 

In other words, my principal aim here is to emphasize the frequently overlooked and crucial need for academic discourse to contemplate and communicate with a broader audience.  Insofar as the academy is becoming more and more interdisciplinary, and pedagogical and critical practice are becoming more interdisciplinary, and more interdisciplinary journals like Appendx are being established, the academy's potential as an arena for enlightenment is becoming greater and greater.  This is clearly the recent direction of the academy.  Yet the overall effectiveness of this interdisciplinary movement as a source of educational inspiration and enlightenment dependsAppendx 1 page break 196 | 197on the mutual accessibility and circulation of ideas.  To promote this interdisciplinary movement, it is imperative that we give critical attention to the significance of what's lacking as well as to the significance of what's present in all academic discourse; as implied by Appendx's founding editors, it is often a lack of some kind that circumscribes thought and expression and makes inclusiveness impossible. 

Nowhere in either the founding editors' "statement of intent" or "journal description" is there any explicit mention of sexuality.  Considering the politically progressive agenda intimated by their desire to hold architectural discourse accountable for its cultural politics, the apparent omission of sexuality from their catalog of crucial realities is surprising.  After all, sexuality is a reality that informs all of the other realities catalogued (in the above quotation and elsewhere in their declarations), for the realities of race, gender, class, "ethnic," and "cultural" stratifications are all inextricably related to conceptions of sexuality.  lust as there is an influential relationship between all of the realities catalogued, there is also an influential relationship between these realities and the cultural politics of sexuality.  None of these crucial realities, including sexuality, should be discussed as if it exists in a vacuum.  This is not to say that these pervasive realities must always be granted the same attention in a discussion, but that the connections between them must not be ignored, especially within the context of a journal's statement of purpose.  But is the reality of sexuality really ignored by the founding editors, or simply represented in such a way that it is obscured or hard to acknowledge without a definite theoretical understanding! It is precisely the need to ask this question and the ambiguity that encouraged it that led me to compare the omission of any straightforward reference to the reality of sexuality in the declarations with the deliberate removal and actual lack of the stall doors in the Science Center men's page

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