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Kelly Pender

Kelly Pender, Associate Professor

Kelly Pender, Associate Professor
Kelly Pender, English

Department of English
332 Shanks Hall 
180 Turner Street, NW 
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-9077 |

Kelly Pender is an associate professor in the Department of English and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society. She is the author of Techne, From Neoclassicism to Postmodernism (Parlor Press, 2011) and Being at Genetic Risk: Toward a Rhetoric of Care (Penn State Press, 2018). She specializes in rhetorical theory and the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine and regularly teaches courses in these areas. Currently Dr. Pender serves as the Associate Chair of the English Department and as Director of the Rhetoric and Writing PhD Program. She also serves as Co-Director of the Virginia Consortium for the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine and as Chair of the Medical Rhetoric Standing Group of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. 

  • Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Rhetorical Theory
  • History of Rhetoric
  • PhD in English, Purdue University, 2005
  • MA in English, North Carolina State University, 2000
  • BA in English, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1997
  • Associate Chair, Department of English
  • Director, Rhetoric and Writing PhD Program
  • Co-Director, Virginia Consortium on the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine
  • Chair, Medical Rhetoric Standing Group of the CCCC


  • Pender, Kelly. Being at Genetic Risk: Toward a Rhetoric of Care. Penn State University Press, 2018.
  • Pender, Kelly. Techne, From Neoclassicism to Postmodernism: Understanding Writing as a Useful, Teachable Art. Parlor Press, 2011.

Journal Articles

  • Pender, Kelly and Brooke Covington. “How Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Does the Body, Or Why Epistemology Alone Cannot Explain This Controversial Breast Cancer Treatment.” Journal of Medical Humanities, 11 Feb. 2020. Springer Journals, doi: 10.007/s10912-020-09614-w.
  • Pender, Kelly. “Somatic Individuality in Context: A Comparative Case Study.” Public Understanding of Science, vol. 27, no. 3, 2018, pp. 5-18.
  • Pender, Kelly. “Genetic Subjectivity in situ: A Rhetorical Reading of Genetic Determinism and Genetic Opportunity in the Biosocial Community of FORCE.” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, vol. 15, no. 2, 2012, pp. 319-349.
  • Pender, Kelly. “Negation and Contradictory Technics of Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly, vol. 38, no. 1, 2008, pp. 2-24.

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