Archive of ‘wrtg101s17’ category



For my College Writing Class with Professor Hoskins, I have had the unique opportunity to research a commonplace in the D.C. Metropolitan area and observe it through a rhetorical lens. I picked a coffee shop in the Shaw area called Compass Coffee. The cafe originated from an old laundromat and now has multiple locations throughout the city. I explored D.C. through newspaper articles, videos, and first-hand observations.

What makes this project even cooler is that my whole class participated. Here is a map of everyone’s commonplaces and research: Class Google Map

Looking back at my work over the semester, I never realized how exciting and impactful my work was until now. I hope you enjoy looking at my project!

Below are links to each part:

Office Hours

I visited Hoskins office hours a total of three times. One time was our first meeting to get to know each other. The next, we talked about my Essay 1 grade and how I can include more rhetorical analysis in my assignments. Another time we went over citations. Finally, we talked about my final project. Thanks for all the help professor! See you around (I figured I would match your Obama meme that shows after submitting extra credit assignments)!


Guru speaker:

On April 19th I walked into a room full of individuals without shoes on sitting on a bunch of yoga mats. I was here to see the Professional Devamrita Swami. The guru and yogi master who was supposed to teach me how to manage stress and make me “perfect”. Quick spoiler alert – obviously this didn’t end up happening.

Swami offered a few rather interesting insights on life… as a whole. First, he asked the audience what made us happy. He listened to our responses to funny stories that kids experienced from the weekend before or how the cupcake we ate at lunch made us content for the rest of the day. Swami listened and listened, then proceeded to tell us none of us had actually experienced “real happiness”. He asked if we had real happiness in the moments described then why did the feeling eventually go away. According to him, an individual needs to experience full enlightenment to gain a sense of happiness that never disappears. Perplexed with the task of becoming enlightened, the audience continued to ask questions of how we could reach this constant state of happiness. The answer was simple. Swami responded by saying, “just buy my book, then you can read and find out how”.

And my experience of becoming perfectly stress-free and relaxed turned into a stressful book-pitch and I learned that I am not ever going to be truly happy (just kidding, I strongly disagree with Swami).

However, I do not see attending this speaking event as a waste of time. In fact, it made me realize that all the small moments of happiness do matter (even though the yogi disagrees). I learned that the most important thing is to be present in the moment. I don’t think humans are meant to be constantly happy because if we were how would we move the world forward? If we never experienced the anxious feeling or urge to learn more – discoveries wouldn’t be made. Society wouldn’t progress. In fact, it is the feelings of competitiveness and curiosity (along with many other of course) that benefit the human race as a whole.

Androgynous as a Commonplace


Adj. 1. being both male and female; hermaphroditic, 2. having both masculine and feminine characteristics, 3. having an ambitious sexual identity

We have all heard our people preach about how we need to “be our own individual” and “do what we want”, which is exactly what we did. The media has such a small coverage on androgyny and understanding it, the media ends up reenforcing mainstream beauty and norms. As Suzanne Tick discusses in her article about gender and society, androgyny has stemmed form a confusion of appearance. Gender is becoming such a fluid term as society comes to term with this new concept. It is no longer just in the media but in our everyday lives. Coming here to AU, my first day I was asked to share my desired pronouns. Androgyny isn’t just a commonplace anymore but a common movement.

This article outlines the most common misconceptions and lies media tells about androgyny.

4 Harmful Lies the Media Is Telling You About Androgyny


Corporate v. Non-Corporate

Annotated Bibliography 9:


Fig.1. Starbucks logo; example of corporate coffee shop

Carman, Tim. “Starbucks is over downtown Washington. These coffee shops are so much better.” The Washington Post, 5 April 2017.

In his article “Starbucks is all over downtown Washington. These coffee shops are so much better”, Tim Carman discusses the new non-corporate coffee shops that are beginning to push Starbucks aside. Interestingly, it’s not just Compass Coffee that is over taking the downtown area but also Swing’s Coffee and La Colombe. On one hand, Compass Coffee is striving to become the “Starbucks of the East Coast”. On the other, La Colombe is becoming a “weekend destination”. Additionally, Swing’s Coffee uses favorable lease terms and the perfect space to stay in business.

However, knowing what the competition looks like between the non-corporate and corporate coffee shops can aid in understanding what the future may look like for these stores. In addition, it is helpful to know which parts of the coffee shops make them desirable. Knowing unique characteristics can offer an explanation as to why individuals are picking non-corporate shops over the bigger corporations

Annotated Bibliography 10:


Murray, Kyle B. “The effect of weather on consumer spending.” Journal of retailing and consumer services, vol. 17, no. 6, Nov. 2010, pp. 515-520. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2010.08.006

In his article “The effects of weather on consumer spending”, Kyle Murray provides a series of evidence found in studies proving that the weather does effect mood and spending. To start, studies showed that bad weather (i.e., rain or snow) tends to keep people at home. Looking at substantial research in psychology their is a positive correlation between weather and mood. For example, an individual who is exposed to sunlight will walk away in a better mood than before. This is because sun exposure produces serotonin, the calming hormone in the brain. Additionally, studies showed that artificial lights works just as well with SAD depressed patients. However, according to empirical research, consumers in positive moods evaluate products much more favorably than they would in a neutral mood. In addition, individuals in a positive mood are more likely to spend more money and self-reward themselves.

I took this picture at the Farragut location of Compass Coffee. Observe the large window allowing lots of light to enter the store. Even though it was raining at the time, the light still fills the room.

In comparison with my other sources, this article can offer more of an understanding as to why a consumer may behave the way they do. At Compass Coffee, there are giant windows letting in large amounts of natural light. When looking at the article prior, we see the shift in consumers form corporate coffee shops to non-corporate. Perhaps, this is due to the natural light in the smaller shops. In addition, I think this is a credible source.


Dare to be different? I wouldn’t.

In his chapter “Toward a New Sociospatial Dialectic”, Fleming begins by rehashing his past scenes from earlier in the text. He discusses how his generation has, in a sense, “failed” in teaching the young people how to appreciate and deal with living together with people who are not like themselves. However, the only way to build a self-governing community focus on acceptance and equality is for our society to be built up of individuals with similar backgrounds and goals. Essentially it is impossible to live in complete harmony and equality.

Applying Flemings theories to college life, one can only concur with his findings. Everyone says there is no judgment in college, everyone is free to be themselves. However, there is an unbelievable amount of tension between individuals with vastly different points of view that differ from the mainstream. The community of American University consists of main liberals, making this the mainstream perspective. When a conservative individual is put into the community they are immediately attacked, hated, isolated for deviating from the norm. It becomes a topic of gossip. Intentional or not, this creates a mental barrier and a tainted view of the individual. Similarly, lower-income communities are isolated and seen as “different” from the mainstream.

Below is an article about American University. Hundred of students gather to voice their opinions. Of course, there is nothing from with exercising the First Amendment right of free speech. However, being there in person I was able to get a first-hand experience. Not only were they protesting, but also yelling and verbally attacking any conservative student. In addition, those who are conservative are very well known. For example, when students see republican individuals they point them out and say, “They voted for Trump. Can you believe that?”. Marking them as different than the rest of the students.

It’s a Gender Revolution

In her article “His and Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick argues that the once concrete definitions of male and female are transforming into a gender revolution which allows all individuals an opportunity to express themselves. However, problems arise when we attempt to approach gender issues with regulations and complacence. It is necessary to begin creating safe places for everyone. Big corporations, like Google, are adopting gender-neural and unisex bathrooms, as well as male and female ones (Tick). The proactive nature of the big companies hopefully will set an example for all companies across the states. Ensuring employees feel welcomed will allow them to work to their highest potential, thus, producing optimal quality work.

Unfortunately, creating an inclusive environment everywhere is easier said than done.  In June of 2015, the White House shined rainbow colors in support of the same-sex marriage ruling.


It would seem as though everyone would accept the thought of gay marriage. Of course, that would be to good to be true. Recently, the republican state lawmakers in North Carolina proposed a bill that would ban gay marriage in the entire state.

However, the whole issue with change is no one ever agrees. However, the more companies that create inclusive legislation and resources the more likely it is that people will follow. Similar to how the more people who make their voice heard, the more likely change will happen as they get more people on board.

Annotated Bibliography 5 & 6


Greg Dickinson. “Joe’s rhetoric: Finding authenticity at Starbucks.”  Rhetoric Society Quarterly, vol 32, Iss. 4,2002, June 2009, pp. 5-27., doi: 10.1080/02773940209391238

In his article, “Joe’s rhetoric: Finding authenticity at Starbucks” by Greg Dickinson, he discusses the rhetorical strategies used by Starbucks to draw lure in consumers and keep them happy.  For example, Starbucks places the abstract transformation of the grinding of the coffee beans near the cashier. This way, as the customer is ordering coffee they are able to listen, smell, and see the transformation of the drink. In addition, Starbucks also picked the rainforest green color to promote a sense of connections. Since green is a similar color to plants, the consumer associates Starbucks with the coffee beans imported around the world.

Fig. 1. Starbucks counter

I am able to use this article as a method and guide in my own paper about Compass Coffee. Both are coffee shops trying to use rhetorical methods to appeal to consumers. I can look at the way Greg Dickinson analyses Starbucks and apply it to the everyday coffee shops I visit in addition to my sight. Having been to Starbucks countless times, I am able to visualize each characteristic he bring to attention.


Kempf, K., C. Herder, I. Erlund, H. Kolb, S. Martin, M. Carstensen, W. Koenig,…, J. Tuomilehto. Effects of coffee consumption on subclinical inflammation and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a clinical trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.2854

In the article, “Effects of coffee consumption on subclinical inflammation and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a clinical trial”, the authors discuss the investigative findings of daily coffee consumptions with regards to subclinical inflammation, oxidative stress, glucose and lipid metabolism. The study was conducted on 47 avid coffee drinkers. At the end they took blood samples to analyze the data. Their findings showed that coffee consumptions showed beneficial effects.

Fig. 2. Diabetes symbol

I can use this article to talk about the overall effects coffee has on the body. Knowing the health results from drinking coffee, may inform us on why someone would want to drink coffee. This source provides background and a sense of understanding based on factual evidence and case studies. Along with my other sources I can use this article to provide proven effects of coffee.


Coffee Drinking is a Culture


Schneider, Robert. “Coffee Culture”: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces. The Images Publishing, 2016.

In his book, “Coffee Culture: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces” by Robert Schneider, he describes thirty-three different interesting coffee shops located all around the United States. Each shop has a unique setting and location including historical buildings, art useless, arcades, and even an old cargo ship. Schneider discusses how “interweaving coffee with art, architecture, and historic preservation” adds a special yet diverse characteristic. The author continues to inform the reader about the evolution of coffee in “three waves”. First, coffee was used as a “fast, cheap, drink of caffeine” to help people get through the day. Second, coffee started being distributed through corporate chains with different syrups and toppings. Finally, drinking coffee became similar to drinking wine. A social interaction used to build relationships.

Fig. 1. Coffee Culture book cover; using aesthetically pleasing placement, good lighting, and coffee (all important characteristics of a good coffee shop in his book)

Coffee Culture provides background and comparison to other coffee shops and how coffee drinking has developed throughout the years as well as analyzes and interprets each coffee shop. Not only can I use this source to compare other successful coffee shops with Compass Coffee but also see the timeline of where Starbucks fits in. In addition, the book does a great job of capture the reader’s attention with interesting pictures and graphics.



Tucker, Catherine M. “Coffee Culture”: Local Experiences, Global Connections. Routledge, 2017.

In “Coffee Culture: Local Experiences, Global Connections” by Catherine M. Tucker, discusses how drinking coffee is the last and “final step” in connecting us to the farmers in nations around the world who produce it. Even in her title she suggests how our “local experiences” with coffee creates “global connections”. She further describes how coffee ties together the global economic system that is till evolving. Indeed, coffee is produced by some of the world’s poorest countries but these countries also happen to be the most biodiverse and endangered habitats in the world. For a while, coffee production has coexisted with forest but because the market favors “sun-grown coffee”, the forests have to be cleared and farmers need to use toxic agrochemicals. According to Tucker, coffee production is becoming one of the world’s most barring problems. She even compares them with social inequality along with environmental degradation.

Fig. 2. Coffee Culture book cover; the hands with the beans and green cover – represents the cohesive relationship the author ideally wants us to have with the environment

Tucker’s research offers a background on coffee production that most people would never have considered. The rest of my articles talk about the “up and coming” coffee industry and methods of marketing new products to customers. However, I never thought, to think of what potential negative effect this could have on our environment. This article provides a counter argument to coffee production and offers a more environmentally conscious way to produce coffee.


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