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In Search of Lost Time at the Café Foucault - De File — LiveJournal
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In Search of Lost Time at the Café Foucault
It’s true that I prefer not to identify myself, and I’m amused by the diversity of the ways I’ve been judged and classified. Something tells me that by now a more or less approximate place should have been found for me, after so many efforts in such various directions; and since I obviously can’t suspect the competence of the people who are getting muddled up in their divergent judgments, since it isn’t possible to challenge their inattention or their prejudices, I have to be convinced that their inability to situate me has something to do with me.

I don't feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it? What is true for writing and for a love relationship is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don't know what will be the end.

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Current Location: 94607

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cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 13th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Although I have heard conflicting reports, the informants I trust the most insist that when Michel Foucault was in Berkeley in the early 1980s he liked to sit at a table in this location, the back left corner -- towards Telegraph and Durant, that is -- of Espresso Experience, which was informally renamed in his honor by students like myself. Like many of my former graduate-student acquaintances, I held my office hours there in his honor.

Andy, the mustachioed barista who apparently worked at the place from Foucault's days until my own time there, hasn't been there in a while. But the Korean couple that owned it during the 1990s still seems to be running things, since the bulgoki sandwiches I would order are still on the menu. Yesterday, however, our purchase was confined to water and two madelines, the crumbs of which Skylar is brushing from her lips in the photograph.

The first quote here, before the photograph, comes from an interview conducted right before Foucault's death from AIDS in May, 1984, by UC Berkeley Professor of Anthropology Paul Rabinow. I think it might be the last interview Foucault ever gave, actually.

The second quote, after the photograph, comes from an interview conducted October 25th, 1982 and included in Technologies of the Self, an account of a seminar Foucault conducted at the University of Vermont.

The photograph is a clickable link to a page on a site devoted to chronicling homosexuality at the University of California at Berkeley. It excerpts some of the well-known stories about how life in California transformed Foucault, though not the one my good friend Keith Sadler used to tell about how the thinker would spend the night in the City "strapped to a barrel" before returning to Berkeley, buying his lunch from Sandwiches-a-Go-Go, and then situating himself at his favorite table in Espresso Experience.
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