My Sabbatical Blog; Or, My pilgrimage to Michel Foucault's Square in Paris

Since September of 2012 I have been on sabbatical in Europe; stationed, primarily, at Durham University in the UK, where I have been working with David Byrne and several other colleagues, developing our mutual interest in a case-based approach to modeling complex systems.

During my stay, I was overwhelmed by my attempt to keep my family, friends and students apprised of my adventures, so I decided to start a
Sabbatical Blog.

My favorite travel writers/commentators are Bill Bryson and Anthony Bourdain, so the blog is a goofy combination of my off-the-cuff, sociological observations about the weird things Europeans do (like putting the toilet and the shower in two different rooms) compared with the even more bizarre things Americans do (like consuming over half the world's resources).  Stuff like that.  Plus, you get a front-row seat to all the self-deprecating, ridiculous situations I tend to get into, such as trying to purchase rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol in the UK, for my swimmer's ear, only to be asked, out loud, by the clerk, and without any whiff of irony or sarcasm, and in front of several dozen people, why I wouldn't want to drink my alcohol instead of rubbing it on myself.  Let's just say I ran out of the store.  Anyway, you get the point.

On a more positive note, I spent the last week of my trip in Paris, with my family, for Christmas.  Without a doubt, other than New York City or Rome, I think Paris is the other greatest city in the world. 

Most important, I got to visit a little known memorial near the College of France for the most influential thinker in my life, Michel Foucault.  It is called the Le Square Michel-Foucault.  Here are a few pictures of me at the square.  I was sort of amazed that, given Foucault's impact on French thinking and scholarship worldwide, that this was the extent of his recognition.  Oh well.  Anyway, it was wonderful for me to see it.


And, again, if you like travel journals that aim for the weird and the sociological, check out the Blog.



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