Forty-Seven Years on 47 Phila Street: From Radical Homespace to Third Place: The Life and Lasting Legacy of Caffé Lena – America’s Oldest Continuously Running Folk Coffeehouse Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Arem, Jocelyn
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of American Studies, Folklore Program
  • Caffé Lena manifests two identities – a mythic past and an adaptive present. The Caffé is not just a time capsule but is an evolving connector. Caffé Lena began as a business venture, became what I call a radical homespace when Lena became proprietress, and became a third place after her passing. I build on Michael Ann Williams' and bell hooks' theories of homeplace and Ray Oldenburg's concept of the third place to define a "radical homespace," an actual, alternative, physical substitute for home, whose function as a "space" and not a "place" allows it to accept contrary opinions and provide a platform for complex viewpoints. Radical homespaces are not defined by the politics of resistance, but of survival in the face of changing times. The formation and defense of identity then becomes a radical act. My thesis explores Caffé Lena's function over time, from 1960 to 2008.
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  • Ferris, William
  • Open access

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