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Janice W. Fernheimer
Full Professor, Zantker Charitable Foundation Professor of Jewish Studies
Past President, Klal Rhetorica

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 of Jewish Studies, Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies; and a James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits Faculty Fellow 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, and Journal of Jewish Identities  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.  In collaboration with students in Bourbon Oral History Spring 2021, she launched the Women in Bourbon Oral History Project. When she’s not writing or teaching, you can usually find her dancing salsa or swing or bicycling around Kentucky!

Contact Information
1303 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-6973
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.
Research Interests
  • Composition and Rhetoric
  • Kentucky African American history
  • Oral History
  • Jewish Studies
  • Bourbon
  • Rhetoric and Writing
  • Visual Rhetoric and Comics
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Jewish Rhetorics
  • Writing and the Bourbon Industry
  • Jewish Kentucky
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies
  • Hebrew and Jewish Studies