Michel Foucault’s acid trip in Death Valley: Interview with Simeon Wade with great archival photos (updated)

I’ve just heard that Simeon Wade died in October, making this interview even more important. My condolences to Wade’s family.

Progressive Geographies

Boom California has just published an interview with Simeon Wade, conducted by Heather Dundas. If you’ve read the Foucault biographies, you’ll probably know about the acid trip in Death Valley story. James Miller makes a great deal of this, having talked to Simeon Wade who, with his partner Michael Stoneman, took Foucault on the journey. Wade was the originator of the ‘Chez Foucault’ fanzine which I’ve previously discussed and shared on this site.

The interview with Wade is fascinating, though some of its claims need to be taken with caution. The visit took place in June 1975, four months after Surveiller et punir appeared in French, and eighteen months before History of Sexuality volume I was published. That the trip had a profound effect on Foucault may well be true, but that it led him to criticise Bentham for the first time is impossible. And if it had such…

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