I still remember the first time I came out ot the metro station at Woodley Park/Adams Morgan. I had no clue what to expect of The Church of the Saviour and had to walk 20 minutes to get there. I set my Google Map and proceeded to walk. I was highly concentrated in my environment, I took notes and pictures of what surprised me, what I saw as unusual. The shops, people and even cars I saw walking from the station to The Church of the Saviour. As I got closer to my location I noticed how multicultural the shops at Columbia Road are; I remember seeing Chinese Restaurants, Latin American Parlours and African American hair salons. Furthermore, I remember seeing many liquor shops and check trade offices. Almost at the end of the street, where The Church of the Saviour was supposed to be, there was a brand new “hipster” cafe. I thought to myself “well at least I found a place to have lunch after I finish.” 

I walked a block more and found two different churches: All Souls Church and Community of Hope. I was amazed by how many churches there were in such a small area. amazed how I could not find The Church of the Saviour. So I went into the cafe to have lunch. The menu only contained a few items, the books that were for sale depicted pretty progressive ideas and the artwork exposed portrait minorities figures such as Sonia Sotomayor, Martin Luther King Jr and Cesar Chavez. This was not your typical hipster cafe it had something more the rhetoric in the place spoke more than a simple trend, the place had a life of its own. When I approached the bar to make my order there was an item in the menu that caught my attention, there was a soup that was offered that had no price, it simply said pay what you can. I order a Cappuccino (this item will appear later represent a metaphor for one of the themes explored in this project), I took pictures of the place and the elements I considered important and left.

A couple of days after my first visit to Adams Morgan I went to meet with Professor Hoskins about my location and ask him for help to find my topos/commonplace. I showed him my pictures and a couple of digital archives I had gathered of my location. He helped me shape my investigation and together we Google searched Jubilee Church,  there I discovered that Jubilee Church was a branch of The Church of the Saviour,  an extinct church that branched many non denominational Christian Churches. The Church of the Saviour also founded Potter’s House, the place I had lunch in, then I realized Potter’s House  should be  my commonplace.

One of the most important class we had in the course was the one that as a class we used rhetorical analysis over a couple of university web pages: American University, Georgetown and Arizona State. This exercise inspired me to do the same in my “Rhetorical Analysis of Text Essay”. I analyzed the rherotic  used in Potter’s House webpage in comparison to the one used in Starbucks webpage. While navigating Potter’s House webpage I found a tab that contained a brief history of the place. There I noticed how deeply complex this commonplace was and how great of an impact it had on Adams Morgan. It was my duty to research and find the detailed history of it and elaborate a thesis that showed how this location had been a cultural and social epicenter of the development of Adams Morgan. 

In an informational session with American University Associate Librarian Alex Hodges, I gained key information for my research. He recommended me three databases: Washington Post Historical, American History and Life and ATLA. I found the majority of my resources in those three databases. Even though I new the importance of them I did not began my research with them, it was necessary for me to contextualize myself with rhetorical analysis works before beginning with research that had to do with the history of my commonplace.

I began studying  Lloyd Bitzer one of the greatest American rhetorician of all time,  I used  his work “The Rhetorical Situation” an essay he wrote to explain how context affects the rhetorical discourse of speakers or writers.  This information was necessary to appear in my research, to a great extent I was dealing with information written in different time spaces.Taking this into consideration I needed another source that helped me manage how to treat the rhetoric behind history. So I choose “The Rhetoric of History” by Donald N. McCloskey this research helped me in the development of an argument that needed to contribute with the great amount of persuasion that appears in historical writing. Taking into account the vast majority of my sources were historical I had to have lenses to understand the rhetorics used behind them.

The Washington Post Historical database provided me with the majority of the sources I used in my research in total four, all of them talked about different events at Potter`s House in different time periods. Reconstructing the history of Potter’s House with only news articles would not have been possible. ATLA database contributed with first hand information about The Church of The Saviour, including an interview with Reverend Cosby. The only missing link in my research was the use of detailed information in the social transformation of Adams Morgan, American History and Life helped me in that regard.

To show my final project and deliver all the knowledge I gained from this course I choose Instagram to be my platform to present the information. It was not the first option I tried, I began doing a Prezi but found out the majority of my classmates were planning to use it, I wanted something unique that will stand out from the crowd. I remember Professor Hoskins saying many times that if we were going to fail we should “fail spectacularly.” I finished my Instagram and included maps, photos and descriptions about Potter’s House history and role in the Adams Morgan community. I promise I did not failed to deliver, I invite you to discover something unique and inspiring by following the link to the Instagram below.


Phil Casey “Potter’s House is Still a Home for Everyone.” The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973), Mar 07, 1971, pp. 2, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post, http://proxyau.wrlc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxyau.wrlc.org/docview/148213481?accountid=8285.


In “Potter’s House is Still a Home for Everyone,” Phil Casey claims that Potter’s House stands true to the principals it was created. More specifically, he tells the story of when the coffee house was created and how it continues that legacy eleven years later. The first couple of paragraphs talk about Reverend N. Gordon Cosby creating the coffeehouse and how a visit to a New England tavern took them to open such a place instead of a traditional church. Consequently, the coffee house began a trend that spread throughout the entire country.  Throughout the piece it is mention that one of the goals of the coffee shop was to “rebuild the city”. At that particular time Washington DC was a deeply fractured city and there were few multicultural commonplaces. At Potter’s House they received “wide range of subjects, political, social, economic, cultural and religious.” In other words, everyone was welcomed there. It was not common that in the beginning of 1970s there was a business that took pride of social mixing. That’s what makes Potter’s House such an iconic landmark for Adams Morgan, Washington DC and the whole country.

This is one of the best sources I have found for this project. It contains many key quotes that will be helpful to implement when in conversation with other sources. For example, “Christ would have been more at home in the coffee house”. This quotes ties together the two main places of my commonplace, the coffee house and the Church of the Savior. This type of quotes can incorporate the two branches of my research. Potter’s House as a commonplace that brought a huge cultural impact to Adams Morgan and the Church of the Savior efforts to innovate in religious spaces. Also, this piece is highly adaptive for prospective sources, it permits me to have a great array of fields that connect with it.


Sandra Evans Washington Post,Staff Writer. “Congregation Marks Rare Reunion.”The Washington Post (1974-Current file), Oct 26, 1987, pp. 2, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post,



In “Congregation Marks Rare Reunion,”  Sandra Evans explains how the ecumetical Church of Savior celebrates 40 years of its founding. She continues to chronologically tell the different social projects the church has done at Adams Morgan since it arrived to Washington DC. It begins with the “acclaimed” Jubilee Housing that with the help of James Rouse a famous real estate developer began renovating apartment buildings and keeping them low income properties. Following that, it mentions another separate branch of the church, Potter’s House cafe. The last two projects that were marching at that particular time frame where the Columbia Road Health Services Clinic and Jubilee Jobs. Mary Cosby the wife of Reverend Cosby noted that “When you get people housing, you realize they have no jobs; so you get them jobs, and then realize they have no health care”. In other words, Cosby realized how is not sufficient to only provide housing for a person to be totally well off, people need jobs and healthcare too. At that time the church was looking to expand its samaritan activities to wider fronts. This included sheltering refugees from Central America, sending volunteers to Calcutta to work with Mother Theresa and creating Samaritan Inns to house homeless. The Church of the Savior has contributed to building a more equal society with the hands of few but passionate volunteers.

Potter’s House will not exist if it wasn’t for the caritative work of the Church of The Saviour. It is important to know the work this institution made and the impact it had on both the Washington DC and the world community. This source will enter the conversation perfectly complementing the information of enumenical churches and the work they have done in Adams Morgan. Is necessary for the correct mapping of Potter’s House commonplace to incorporate the philanthropic work of the church that runs the establishment. Also, all the  

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.


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.