Janice W. Fernheimer

jwfe223's picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Past President, Klal Rhetorica
  • Director, Program in Jewish Studies
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
  • Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies
1303 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-6973
Research Interests:
Office hours by appointment.

Ph.D. in English, concentration in Rhetoric and Writing, from the University of Texas at Austin, 2006. MA in American Literature from the University of Texas at Austin, 2001. BA in English with Honors and concentration in Jewish Studies from the University of Maryland, 1998.


Born and raised in Gaithersburg, MD, Janice Fernheimer earned her BA in English at the University of Maryland, College Park and both her MA in American Literature and her PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin.  In Fall 2008, she was a visiting scholar at the Hadassah Brandeis Institute for Gender and Jewish Studies. Prior to joining the faculty at UK, she was Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At the University of Kentucky, she is the Zantker Charitable Foundation Professor and Director of Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky and teaches courses in rhetoric, technology, and Jewish  Rhetorical Studies.

She is the author of  Stepping Into Zion: Hatzaad Harishon, Black, Jews and the Remaking of Jewish Identity (University of Alabama Press 2014) and co-editor along with Michael Bernard-Donals of Jewish Rhetorics: History, Theory, Practice (Brandeis University Press 2014). She has published essays in Rhetoric Society QuarterlyCollege EnglishJournal of Communication and ReligionComputers and Composition Online, Argumentation and AdvocacyJournal of Business and Technical CommunicationTechnical Communication, and Oral History Review.  Along with her research collaborators Dr. Beth L. Goldstein, Dr. Douglas A. Boyd, and Sarah Dorpinghaus she established the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE) Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project, a repository of 122+ oral histories for Jewish Kentuckians housed at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. In collaboration with author/illustrator JT Waldman, she is currently authoring an archives and oral-history based transmedia project America's Chosen Spirit  which includes a webcomic and podcast series that detail the influences of Jews and other minorities on the Kentucky bourbon industry.  When she’s not writing or teaching, you can usually find her dancing salsa, tango, merengue, bachata, or swing or bicycling around Kentucky!


History and theory of Jewish Rhetorical Studies; Rhetoric of identity; Literacy, Technology, and Pedagogy; Rhetorical theory; History of rhetoric; Gender studies; Rhetoric of the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts; Holocaust rhetoric and representation; Nineteenth-century African-American rhetoric; Nineteenth and twentieth century African-American and Jewish literature; Archival research methods; Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Selected Publications: 


Book Manuscripts and Major Projects in Progress

Arguing Black Jewish Identity: Hatzaad Harishon and Interruptive Invention. (forthcoming, University of Alabama Press, Series in Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique, Fall 2013)

Designing for User Engagement. Cheryl Geisler,  Roger Grice, Audredy Bennet, Janice W. Fernheimer, Robert Krull, James P. Zappen, and Patricia Search. (forthcoming, Taylor and Francis Press, March 2013)

Jewish Rhetorics, edited by Michael Benard-Donals and Janice W. Fernheimer. (Under contract with Brandeis University Press)

Networks of Rhetorical Action and Resistance: Fela and Chaim Perelman’s Social Sphere. This monograph argues that Chaim Perelman, his wife Fela, and their network of Belgian Resistance leaders enacted the model of rhetorical action later developed in the The New Rhetoric Project. This project is in development; I spent two summers (2009, 2010) researching archival materials related to the Perelman’s resistance to German Occupation in  Belgium and participation in the Aliyah Bet. (Prospectus in progress).

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Heuristics for Broader Assessment of Effectiveness and Usability in Technology-Mediated Technical Communication.” Roger A. Grice, Audrey G. Bennett, Janice W. Fernheimer, Cheryl Geisler, Robert Krull,  Raymond A. Lutzky, Matthew G.J. Rolph, Patricia Search, and James P. Zappen. (forthcoming Technical Communication).

“Transdisciplinary Itexts and the Future of Web-Scale Collaboration.” With Lisa Litterio and Jim Hendler.  Journal of Business and Technical Communication. July 2011. 322-337. 

Talmidai Rhetoricae: ‘Drashing Up Models and Methods for Jewish Rhetorical Studies.”Introduction to special issue of College English: “Composing Jewish Rhetorics” Guest Editor: Janice Fernheimer. July 2010. 577-597.

“Collaborative Convergences in Research and Pedagogy:  An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Writing with Wikis,” with Dr. Dean Nieusma, Dr. Lei Chi, Dr. Lupita Montoya, Thomas Kujala, and Andrew LaPadula. Computers and Composition Online. Fall 2009.

“Black Jewish Identity Conflict: A Divided Universal Audience and the Impact of Dissociative Disruption.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Volume 39. January 2009, p. 46-72.  

“From Jew to Israelite: Making Uncomfortable Communions and The New Rhetoric’s Tools for Invention.” Argumentation and Advocacy. Guest Editor. David Frank. Spring 2008, p. 198-212.

Bridging the Divide: Blogs in the Composition Classroom, ” with Tom Nelson.  Currents in Electronic Literacy.Volume 9. December 2005.

 Book Chapters Published

“Arguing from Difference: Cooper, Emerson, Guizot, and a More Harmonious America.” Speaking Our Minds: Black Women’s Thought in the Nineteenth Century. Ed. Kristin Waters and Carol B. Conaway. Lebanon, New Hampshire: University of Vermont Press, 2007. 287-305.

*Recipient of The Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize for best anthology about African American women's history for 2007.           

“Breaking the Commandments of Holocaust Representation? Conflicting Genre Expectations in Audience Responses to Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful.Beyond Life is Beautiful: Comedy and Tragedy in the Cinema of Roberto Benigni. Ed. Grace Russo Bullaro. Leicester, UK; Troubador Publishing, 2005. 292-321.

 Invited Essays

 “Making Klal Yisrael Count: The Difficulties of Defining Black Jewish Communities” Association of Jewish  Studies Perspectives. Fall 2011.

“Commandment Keepers of Harlem.”  The Encyclopedia of African American Religious Culture. Ed. Anthony B. Pinn. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio Publishing, 2009. 169-174.

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