10/17: Exigence of Local Activism

We will look together at Keith Grant-Davie’s article “Rhetorical Situations and their Constituents” from Blackboard, paying specific attention to the subsection titled “Exigence” (266-269). We will closely read this subsection to understand the “stases,” or the questions Grant-Davie offers to best understand a discourse. Looking closely at these stasis questions will help us define the exigence of the local advocacy movement Black People Will Swim.

Exigence is a complex idea that helps us understand the impact of any discourse, and in our course, the discourses we are looking at involve writing for activism. As Ashley M. noted in class, when Grant-Davie directs us to ask, “What is this discourse about?” to understand the exigence of a discourse, he’s telling us to think about “the fundamental issues represented” and the “values at stake” (267). When Grant-Davie presents the questions, “why is this discourse needed” and what is it “trying to accomplish,” Brit and Ashley D. noted that we should be thinking about “why now is the right time” (268) for such advocacy and what goals matter to the communities that will be impacted by the the advocacy organization.

Click here (and forward to about 3 minutes into the report) for recent news coverage of children’s access to swimming in NYC and hear from Paulana Lemonier, the founder of Black People Can Swim.

Working in pairs, you will choose one of the following organizations and answer the same stasis questions to present the organization to class:

Each group will receive credit for their in-class work!

Today’s in-class work is a draft of part of what you’ll do for your Rhetorical Analysis of Local Activism assignment.


Our next class on Thursday, October 19 is cancelled.

In lieu of class, please email me at indicating who you are working with on your Rhetorical Analysis of Local Activism assignment and which organization you will analyze.