Janice Fernheimer

Rhetoric, Technology, Jewish Studies

Jewish Rhetorical Studies

This research grows out of my concentrated work on medieval rabbis’ “alternative arguments” and pedagogy, first presented at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo in 2003, and expanded and presented at the Rhetoric Society of America in 2006. I argue that there are many areas of overlap between classical and Jewish rhetorical practices and that Rhetoric, Composition, and Jewish Studies scholars would benefit from work that traces a more complete history of Jewish Rhetorics.To advance this research, I proposed and co-led the 2007 RSA Summer Institute workshop on “Rhetoric and Jewish Studies,” along with Steve Katz and David Metzger.   The workshop’s success led to a new professional organization, Klal Rhetorica, which I founded and now moderate, and the publication of a special edition of College English dedicated to Rhetoric and Jewish Studies: Composing Jewish Rhetorics, which I was invited to guest edit and which is now available in print. Check out the table of contents here!

Klal Rhetorica is a vibrant community of more than 200 international scholars who explore issues of Jewish discourse, identity, and culture. We held our first SIG meeting at CCCC in Louisville in  March 2010 and our second at RSA 2010 in Minneapolis.  As a community we proposed 2 panels dedicated to Rhetoric and Jewish Studies for RSA 2010, and we held our second workshop at the 2011 RSA Summer Institute in Boulder, and we have applied for Affiliate Status with the Rhetoric Society of America. In 2011 we became an Affiliate of the Rhetoric Society of America and in 2012 we moved from our original Google Group to h-jewishrhetorics, an official h-net listserv.

It is my hope that Klal Rhetorica’s future activities will continue to develop and expand. Currently Michael Bernard-Donals and I are co-editing a collection on  Jewish Rhetorics that builds on Greenbaum and Holdstein’s foundational Judaic Perspectives in Rhetoric and Composition Studies. This collection is under advance contract with Brandeis University Press.


Janice W. Fernheimer is Assistant Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Media at The University of Kentucky where she teaches courses in rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy; digital writing; and Jewish rhetorical studies. Her research focuses on questions of identity, invention, and cross-audience communication.

Subscribe to our feed