After reading the eight chapter of City of Rhetoric, finally I discovered why the book has the word Rhetoric in its title. David Fleming is not a sociologist or an urban developer he has an academic background teaching rhetoric. That’s why he wrote this book, even though certain elements of the categories mentioned before are present in the text. In the first paragraph of the chapter Fleming acknowledges how the book so far could be read as “a local history lesson or a seminar in urban sociology than an analysis of situated discourse practices” (179).  Basically, Fleming understands how a good portion of his readers could be reading this text and mentions how in the coming chapters he will concentrate
in the rhetoric part of his book.

Fleming proceeds to review some of the examples he has mentioned in the book and how they could appear to be completely different they have the same problems. For example, ghettos and suburbs both are marked by being “decentralized, fragmented and polarized”. They are the opposite of what Fleming calls “commonplaces”, places that are centralized, integrated and equitable (180). That type of place is the ideal to properly build public discourse. The problem with the other type is that some factors such as, isolation, fear and silence impede the inhabitants of proper public discourse. Also, it creates no human scale and all the problems that derive from it, “prejudice, mistrust and social alienation” (182).

In the previous chapters Fleming presents various places in Chicago that have certain characteristics like the ones “commonplaces” require. Even though he mentions this places not even one has was its needed to be consider fully a “commonplace”. Fleming is highly skeptic of this places because they don’t contain all the characteristics needed, “accessibility, density, diversity, publicity and sovereignty” (185). He remarks how the most important of those are accessibility and diversity. Both are necessary for effective public discourse; he mentions how in some parts of Europe there are places that have both requirements and how radically different the set ups are compared to the ones in the United States.

Fleming concentrates in this chapter to mold his arguments and relate them to rhetoric. All the examples he used previously are explained and contextualize for rhetoric purposes. I’m anxious to know what are the ways Fleming beliefs as a society we could bring opportunities to marginalized parts of cities.


Coffee shops have traditionally been associated as being intellectual epicenters. Imagine a bohemian site full of young vivid intellectuals, reading, discussing and writing. Commonly these locations will be thought of being something of the past or in a faraway European location. What if I told you there is such a place right now at Adams Morgan? In addition to all those erudite activities it is also a Christian church. It may sound bizarre to find such a location at Washington DC, a city not precisely associated with intellectual activity, rather with being a political “swamp”. The place mentioned before is called Potter’s House and since the 1960s has been an intellectual center for Washington DC. It has transformed the intellectual scene of a very concurred location of the city and worked to deliver its core values, solidarity, justice, spirituality and care for the earth.

To understand the real impact of this cafe is important to begin with a brief history of it. The Potter’s House was originally created by Gordon and Mary Cosby, they envisioned a place where everyone could gather no matter their faith. With the help of some members of The Church of Savior they built the cafe. For the coming years, it was a great success even to the extent that other churches tried to replicate the model all around the United States. Potter’s House got involved with different international social causes in the decade on the 1980’s with the humanitarian crisis around Central America.  They worked together with this Latin American communities that arrived and developed small business in Adams Morgan. Now a days Potter’s House continues to be socially active and working a better community. According to their website, “The Potter’s House has provided a place where neighbors can become friends, ask big questions, and build movements. In a city whose name is synonymous with the plans of the powerful, it has sought to model a new way – one in which everyone’s gifts are celebrated and shared for the good of all.” In other words, Potter’s House believes that they have created a multicultural place where they recognize the contributions from minority groups. Potter’s House takes pride with its rich history, thats why a special part of their webpage is exclusively dedicated to the history of the place.

After a brief history of the Potter’s House is important to start an in depth description of the webpage. As soon as you access Potter’s House main page is clear this is not a common restaurant webpage. The sober colors and simple initial page its not trying to sell you anything. The main colors are a black and white, the two most sober colors there are. The header has seven different tabs, home, cafe, books, events, space use, about us and contact. The main part of the webpage is a galley of photos that shows different scenes at different times periods Potters House has existed. There is a constant juxtaposition between old and new in the webpage. This follows the rhetoric used to present Potter’s House as a place that has served the community for many years. Also, the vast majority of the pictures contain people from different ethnic backgrounds, we can see, Caucasian, African Americans and Latin Americans. This follows the multiethnic background continuously mentioned through out the webpage.

The location is presented as an intellectual space were people, books and art contribute to the intellectual development of Adams Morgan. This value is also present in Potter’s House webpage through out the descriptions and the galleries there are multiple pictures were books appear.



On the one hand, we have the sobriety and tradition of Potter’s House webpage. On the other hand, Starbucks webpage is full of colors and pictures of coffees’s.  The main difference between the rhetoric implemented by Potter’s House and Starbucks is that the first one wants to tell you a story and the second one wants to sell you a product. Potter’s House webpage states, “A Cafe, Bookstore, and Community Space Rooted in Adams Morgan Since 1960.” This means two things this is not only a business but a space for the community. Its prime purpose is not to gain profit but to serve as a space for the people that live in Adams Morgan. Instead the


Emilia Sarno. “The Recognition of Intellectual Spaces as a Cultural Heritage: A Territorial Perspective.”            Revista de Turismo Y Patrimonio Cultural, vol. Vol.11 N.2, 2013, pp. 459–470.


In her article, “ The recognition of intellectual spaces as a cultural heritage: a territorial perspective” Emilia Sarno argues the concept
of cultural heritage and the different parts where is developed. Sarno begins with the introduction of the concept of cultural heritage and the different definitions that have been used. In addition, she marks how the term is relatively new, it began to be used in the 20th century. Nowadays, the most effective definition is the one used by the UNESCO, “Intangible Cultural Heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage” (460).  In other words, intangible cultural heritage is the means used to develop cultural heritage.

Subsequently, Sarno proceeds to analyze the geography of intellectual spaces and note how geography serves in the diffusion of knowledge. According to Sarno, “Geography can therefore clarify the question of, and contribute to the discovery of the ways in which intellectual work is carried out” (461). Sarno points that geography plays a crucial role in the way knowledge is spread. After that she briefly mentions the history of scholars finding places to hold intellectual gatherings. Is worth noting, that the main location discussed was “literary cafes”. Those places in particular are key for the expansion of intangible cultural heritage.

The following paragraphs Sarno explains her research methodology, the results of her studies in Europe mainly the south of Italy, the importance of “literary cafes” and finally her conclusion. In her conclusion, Sarno maintains that “[literary cafes] deserve to be considered as an integral part of the cultural heritage of a city or of the territorial area in which they were to be found, principally for their activities” (466). The essence of Sarno’s argument is that “literary cafes” must be recognized as places that cultivated and fomented knowledge. They served as intellectual spaces throughout history for the consolidation of cultural heritage.

The location I choose for studying is Potter’s House cafe.This work fits perfectly for the development of my argument. Because it talks about the importance of “literary cafes” in the consolidation of cultural heritage. This kind of places serve as intellectual epicenters of the places they are located. In particular Potter’s House has distinct intellectual and cultural gatherings including worship on Sundays. For decades this place has permitted the expansion of intangible cultural heritage in one of the most lively neighborhoods in Washington DC, Adams Morgan.