The essay below is meant to explain and rhetorically analyze a Prezi and a video, both of which can be found by clicking here.
After countless hours of researching, touring, taking pictures, re-taking pictures, drafting and redrafting, I am proud to say I have finally reached the end of my college writing journey. In this last project, Mapping Commonplaces, I will further explore my CLS, Adams Morgan, and the underlying theme behind it. This process all started weeks ago when I was first assigned my built environment. For weeks I visited the Community House Church and its surroundings in order to better grasp the rhetoric of the location. At first, I could draw no connection between the Adams Morgan and the church, and I thought it didn’t have a reason to be there. I thought it just happened to be there. It was not until I read an article about a music festival in Adams Morgan that I was able to perceive the big picture behind it all: Diversity.
Adams Morgan is considered one of the most diverse neighborhoods in DC and is the home of many diplomats, foreigners, international restaurants, and hosts thousands of tourists per year. Religious diversity is also very noticeable in the surroundings. Adams Morgan is the home of the most popular Buddhist temple in DC, while also having several big Catholic churches. This diversity is exemplified by the Community House Church, whose community come from several different branches Christianity and strive to accept members with the most diverse beliefs. The underlying message is that the built environment I selected was placed in this CLS because of the diversity already present in the community. It was placed in Adams Morgan because it was a place where it could thrive since its ideals aligned with the community and history of the location.
With all that said, the goal of my Mapping Commonplaces project was to find a way to explain the progression of diversity and inclusion in the community of Adams Morgan. I tackled this in two parts, both of which can be found in the link provided above. The first part of my project was a Prezi, in which I provided historical background about the evolution of diversity in the neighborhood. My goal was to
create something that had a timeline feel, but without needing to have them all in chronological order. Instead, I wanted to group related events together, in order to categorize major trends that led to the diverse environment. I did this by inserting historical newspaper articles along with brief explanations to contextualize the events. The use of newspapers aided me to confirm that Adams Morgan was actually pursuing the creation of a more heterogeneous society. I chose to include only the title and the beginning of each one of them since it captures the main idea of each factor leading to diversity. The purpose wasn’t to have the entire article up for the viewer since that is something anyone can find online. For example, I identified the court case Bolling v. Sharpe as the beginning of what would become a desegregation revolution. As my reference, I used an article published about the case, and further explained the context of the article in the following slide. I continued this process as I followed a historical timeline until I reached the 90s, which was when the race to inclusion plateaued.
This leads to the second part of my multimodal project. As a conclusion to my Prezi I have a video, in which I tried to accurately represent what Adams Morgan looks like today. By combining pictures and short videos of the neighborhood, the goal was to show the result of decades of desegregation and inclusion. I wanted it to be the conclusion of my “timeline”, representing what one would see if they touristed Adams Morgan today. Again, I focused on themes that involved diversity, such as restaurants, cultural events, and urban planning. I decided to leave out religion, as that has already been thoroughly covered in my first project. When depicting these locations, either through videos or pictures, I really wanted to emphasize the difference between each of them. For example, in the section about restaurants, I had an Ethiopian restaurant and a French restaurant in sequence. The goal was to make it really clear to whoever is viewing it that Adams Morgan is the definition of a mixed bag in several difference aspects.
The second component of my video was the rather cheesy song “Adams Morgan”, by Vicky Troy and Charles Raguso. I admit this was a lucky find, but I’m so glad I did find it since it turned out to be a perfect fit. The song is upbeat, it makes you feel happy inside. This happy beat correlated to the general mood of the neighborhood, which can be perceived in the colorful pictures shown throughout the video.
The point in including this song, however, is mostly the lyrics. A couple of the most notable lines are, “Where do you find diversity?/Columbia Road around 18th Street!” and “Look at the people they’re so unique/all of the languages which they speak.” These lyrics couldn’t be more aligned with the overall message of my project. Throughout the entire song, diversity is exalted as the best thing of Adams Morgan. While the point of my research isn’t to glorify or condemn it, it was reassuring to find yet another piece of evidence that backs my claim. Aside from the lyrics, the genre is also very interesting. When analyzing the popular genres in DC, and taking into consideration classic songs that relate to neighborhoods, the reggae present in “Adams Morgan” isn’t seen anywhere else. The song has an international feel to it since the rhythm isn’t amongst the most popular for Americans. These were the two main reasons that convinced me to include the song, aside from it being super catchy and fun to listen to.
This project is the result of a semester-long research. Overall, I really think this was one of the best experiences I’ve had in college since all of the investigation and digging that lead to this was done by me. I really enjoyed the multimodality of it, as it allowed me to add a few my personal preferences and style to the overall product. Even though I had the assistance of both Professor Hoskins and my colleagues, it feels really good to look back at something I’ve created. I see this as an accomplishment, it is something I am proud to have done and I really hope it is used in the future to aid and inform people about the great neighborhood of Adams Morgan.
If you would like to see more projects about Adams Morgan or the surrounding neighborhoods, click on the following link:
“Adams Morgan.” Washington.org, 4 May 2017, https://goo.gl/E4wQqt. Accessed 7 May 2017.
“Adams Morgan Partnership.” Adams Morgan, https://goo.gl/TgwP4D. Accessed 7 May 2017.
“DCentric.” DCentric RSS, https://goo.gl/A8MtAA. Accessed 7 May 2017.
Envision Adams Morgan. “Envision Adams Morgan Phase 1 Report-October 2013.Pdf.” Scribd, Scribd, https://goo.gl/kSf0MB. Accessed 3 May 2017.
“Explore Our Site.” The InTowner, https://goo.gl/6nkA6J. Accessed 7 May 2017.
“FindLaw’s United States Supreme Court case and opinions.” Findlaw, Thomson Reuters, https://goo.gl/FF9SBe. Accessed 4 May 2017.
“John Kelly – A Look at the History of Adams Morgan.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 June 2009, https://goo.gl/fIsBWq. Accessed 7 May 2017.
“Marys Center Named Washingtons Most Innovative PR & Marketing Team 2016.” Marys Center Named Washingtons Most Innovative PR & Marketing Team 2016. PR Urgent, 6 Jan 2017, https://goo.gl/2d02Ph. Acessed 4 May 2017
Timeline. “Adams Morgan Timeline.” Adams Morgan Timeline, Tiki Toki, https://goo.gl/Om5gYc. Accessed 4 May 2017.
“www.culturaltourism.org.” Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail – www.Culturaltourism.org, https://goo.gl/X6qfxF. Accessed 7 May 2017.