Centre Term                                                                                         Beau Weston            

January 2005                                                                                        Cheek Em. (x8789)

FRS 154                                               Cafés and Public Life      238-7580 (h)

The café has long been a storied place for creating public life, from convivial social groups to intellectual salons to revolutionary cells.   We will study the café is a "third place" - not home, not work - where people from different social groups can meet and mix.   Caffeine, especially in coffee, tea, and chocolate, has fueled a modern public sphere that promotes hard work and clear thinking.   We will make several field trips to different kinds of cafés to see for ourselves how they can be incubators of public life, and to actively create critical discourse ourselves by talking to café regulars.


Weinberg and Bealer, The World of Caffeine
Pendergast, Uncommon Grounds:  The History of Coffee
Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere


You will write three short papers, take a final examination, and participate in the seminar.   Each of these five parts is worth 20% of the final grade.

Caffeine Culture Paper : Using class readings, lectures, and at least one other source, consider some aspect of how the public life created by cafés is affected specifically by caffeine. [About 5 pages].

Coffee Industry Paper : Using class readings, field experiences, and at least one other source, consider some aspect of how cafés are part of, but also a challenge to, the coffee industry. [About 5 pages].

Ethnographic and Interview Paper : Go to a café and describe it in detail as a place in which public life is created.   Interview a patron or two who are strangers to you about how they use the café.   Do this on your own -- I would recommend the Lexington or Louisville Field trips as excellent places to accomplish both tasks at once.   [5 - 8 pages]

These papers should be written in Microsoft Word format and emailed to me ( Weston@centre.edu ) as attachments by 1 p.m. on Saturday the 8 th , 15 th , and 22 nd , respectively.

The final examination will take place from 9 - 12 on Monday, January 24 th.

The schedule is here.