3/5: Intra-action between Human and Nonhuman Agents

Intra-Action in Obama’s “A More Perfect Union”

We’ll return to our collaborative document from last time to reorient ourselves to Cooper’s text. Look closely at pages 129-130 in Cooper and try to define her term intra-action.

Later in her chapter, Cooper closely reads then-candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign speech delivered in Philadelphia to explain how agents intra-act to create agency. Obama’s exigence–or the need to which he is responding–involves controversial comments made by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a now-retired pastor of a church that President Obama once attended. Cooper describes the collaborative process that Obama, his speechwriter Jonathan Favreau, and Obama’s aides participated in to compose the speech (143).

We will watch the first seven minutes of Obama’s speech. As you watch, try to answer the following:

  • What’s the main purpose of this speech?
  • What agents are intra-acting?
  • How would you describe agency in this speech?

In-Class Writing

Return to your in-class writing from last class. As a reminder, here is that prompt:

Pick one example of a common kind of writing that you do and answer the following questions: What are the agents, both human and inhuman, that intra-act in your writing? How would you describe agency in this writing context? This is a draft for your next blog post. Your final post should cite Nowacek or Cooper (hint: for citation format see my previous blog post!).


Continue writing your blog post about the agents that intra-act when you write and the agency that is created. Your final post should be about 300 words and engage Nowacek or Cooper in some way. Don’t forget to cite whichever source you use! This is due by next class, TH 3/7.

READ the excerpt of Brandt’s book The Rise of Writing on Blackboard.