Wendy Hesford

Wendy Hesford

Wendy Hesford

Professor, Department of English; Faculty Director, Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme


Areas of Expertise

  • Human Rights Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Rhetorical Theory
  • Law and Literature


  • Ph.D. New York University

Ph.D.  New York University. Areas of research and teaching interests: Modern and contemporary rhetorical theory, human rights studies, visual culture, and transnational feminist studies. Author of Framing Identities: Autobiography and the Politics of Pedagogy (University of Minnesota Press, 1999), winner of the 1999 W. Ross Winterowd Book Award; and Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions, Feminisms (Duke University Press, 2011), winner of the 2012 Rhetoric Society of America Book Award. Co-editor with Wendy Kozol of two collectionsHaunting Violations: Feminist Criticism and the Crisis of the "Real" (University of Illinois Press, 2001) and Just Advocacy? Women's Human Rights, Transnational Feminisms, and The Politics of Representation (Rutgers University Press, 2005). Co-author with Brenda Brueggemann of the textbook Rhetorical Visions: Reading and Writing in a Visual Culture (Prentice Hall, 2007).

Her current research project “Children’s Human Rights and States of Exception” examines international and national news and advocacy media representations of children’s human rights and the differential visibility of the rights of children identified as living in-between or outside of citizenship.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a NEH Summer Seminar fellowship, 2007 Visiting Scholar at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Human Rights, several OSU Seed Grants, OSU Research Enhancement Grants, Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women Grants, and the Modern Language Association's Florence Howe essay award. She has published reviews and essays in a range of journals, including PMLA, Biography, College English, Journal of Human Rights, Humanity, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and TDR: Journal of Performance Studies, among others. She is past President of the Women's Caucus of the Modern Language Association and former Chair of the Executive Committee of the MLA Division of the History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition. She is co-organizer (with Professor Amy Shuman) of the OSU Human Rights Working Group, sponsored by Humanities Institute. The Working Group will host a symposium “Global Human Rights, Sexualities, and Vulnerabilities” Spring, 2013.