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.


“Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” (Kant 88)
This sentence resumes in great part the essence of  Kantian Philosophy. It collects in only 21 words the whole moral theory of one of the most complex philosophers. It is translated to a  complicated english. The targeted audiences are  topic specific readers, in its lowest levels college students. Thats why there is no necessity to sugar code it with an easier translation.  Talking about universality is always a complicated topic because there are many grey areas in the world. But the way the phrase is stated makes it clear that universality is crucial in this area. In one hand you have doing actions that everyone can do, on the other hand you have actions that if everyone committed the world will be chaos. The concept is either black or white.


Alejandro Rengifo

Professor Hoskins

WRTG 101

January 31, 2017


Preface City of Rhetoric

In the preface of City of Rhetoric, David Fleming argues that the social economic division that exists in our modern age is due to the poor political relations between people. His evidences are external realities gained by studies of the environments he uses as examples. Apart from that, he connects three different categories of thinking, political philosophy, urban design and rhetorical thinking. He narrates how in certain time periods there is a connection between this three different types of thinkings. He uses as an example United States post civil war until 1915 to prove the correlation between this three categories of thinking. Also, during this time period the American civic space was transitioning into a metropolitan area. This guided into the connection of many different cultures and ideologies.  Fleming insists in how different cultures should be connected, not separated by civic space and the necessity to continue doing it.

Alejandro Rengifo

Professor Hoskins

WRTG 101

January 31, 2017

In the first chapter of City of Rhetoric, David Fleming aims to show an example that reflects what he will later explain in his book. The example he uses is the development of certain parts of the city of Chicago. How during time they started to change depending on the people who lived there. He also discusses the organization of it and how the chapters intertwine. The focus of Fleming’s is the importance of rhetoric in the construction of society. How creating commonplaces for citizens to discuss is key for developing a sense of community. There are great benefits when talking to one another. Fleming also argues about the importance of having different cultures to conform a place to live. He uses political philosophy and statistics from different time periods as a way to prove his claims about living in community. At the end he calls for the use of rhetoric to solve problems. After reading this first chapter is clear why the book is called City of Rhetoric.

Alejandro Rengifo

Professor Hoskins

WRTG 101

February 7, 2017


Single Benches and Architectural Regulation

It has become common today to dismiss the idea of how architecture is used as a regulation. In her recent work, Sarah Schindler, a professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law offers harsh critique on how modern architecture creates barriers. Not many people think about  physical environment serving as a way of social exclusion. Only few question why cities are developed the way they are.

To put it succinctly, urban planning is widely used to locate certain demographic groups into determined locations. Schindler deplores the tendency to exclude certain people from  locations using architectural tricks. Consider how sometimes benches are designed with three individual seats instead of the traditional way. This design is not only for vanity it also serves the purpose of preventing homeless of sleeping in them (Schindler 1942). Moreover, architecture can also regulate human behavior. Lessig an author quoted by Schindler, demonstrates how certain architectural pieces can prevent human beings from interacting with each other, such as highways (Schindler 1947).  The essence of the argument is how in minor and macro scales social interactions can be limited, with the knowledgeable application of architecture. Architecture is a powerful tool that has been used to regulate society. It continues to regulate it even more and prevents people from developing truthful social communication.

The upshot of all of this is that as a globalized society we need to push for social integration. We can’t limit ourselves to be spectators in how urban planners limit our interaction. Is a growing necessity for people to interact with each other no matter the  differences in backgrounds. Race or socioeconomic status should not be determinants on who merges with who. People need to fight for architectural development that benefits the totality of the social spectrum.


Works Cited

Graff, Gerald, et al. “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic     Writing: With Readings. 2nd ed, W.W. Norton & Co, 2012.

Sarah Schindler. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” The Yale Law Review, 2015, pp. 1937–2023.


“Occasionally you meet someone with a thousand-year heart.” (Brooks 174) The Road to Character

This sentence impacted me dearly, after reading it I could not stop reading it again and again. It’s true how rare is to meet someone that has a pure heart and worth having high esteem too. Having this sentence at the beginning of one of the most important paragraphs of the chapter sets perfectly the tone of what the
author is trying to describe later on. It is a relatively short sentence but full of meaning. The way the words are formulated permits the reader to focus on t
he rarity of the event. Using the world occasionally and the hyperbole “thousand-year heart” to mention how peculiar is to find this kind of person marks the importance of the event. Is amazing how well the message is delivered. The use of figurative language is crucial for effective rhetoric the same happens with short and powerful sentences.



Politics is about: “who gets what, when and how.” Harold Lasswell

This phrase is written by the famous political scientist Harold Lasswell. It has great syntax depth. It’s depth derives from the way he arranges three of the five Ws. This strategy permits him to effectively deliver a complex idea into a catchy phrase. Using three common words to define such a complex concept as Politics makes his idea approachable to everyone who reads it.