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Kelly Pender

Kelly Pender, Professor of English

Kelly Pender, Professor of English
Kelly Pender, Professor of English

Department of English
403 Shanks Hall 
180 Turner Street, NW 
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-7785 |

Kelly Pender is a professor in the Department of English and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society. She specializes in rhetorical theory and the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine, and she regularly teaches courses in these areas.

Pender 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 serves as the interim chair and 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
  • Ph.D. in English, Purdue University, 2005
  • M.A. in English, North Carolina State University, 2000
  • B.A. in English, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1997
  • 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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