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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Wendy HesfordProfessor
518 Denney Hall
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B.A., English, Montclair State University (1984)
M.A., English, New York University (1987)
Ph.D., English, New York University (1992)

Wendy Hesford is professor of English at The Ohio State University.  Her areas of research and teaching include modern and contemporary rhetorical theory, writing studies, human rights studies, visual culture, and transnational feminist studies.

Hesford is the 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.

She is also co-editor with Wendy Kozol of two collections: Haunting 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). She is co-author with Brenda Brueggemann of the textbook Rhetorical Visions: Reading and Writing in a Visual Culture (Prentice Hall, 2007).

Hesford's current book project, "Exceptional Rhetorics: Regulating Childhood and Children's Human Rights,” 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.

Hesford is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Ohio State College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar fellowship, several Ohio State seed grants and research enhancement grants, Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women grants, and the Modern Language Association's Florence Howe essay award.

Hesford has published reviews and essays in a range of journals, including Proceeds of the Modern Language Association, 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.

Hesford served as co-organizer (with Amy Shuman) of the Human Rights Working Group, sponsored by Humanities Institute, and several human rights conferences and symposia, including the Global Human Rights, Sexualities, and Vulnerabilities symposium in Spring 2013, and as co-director (with Treva Lindsey) of the Black Lives Matter in the Classroom conference in Spring 2016. In her role as vice chair of the Department of English (2015-16), Hesford focused on diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives.

Hesford has also held several visiting scholar appointments at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Human Rights, Emory Law School, working with the Feminist Legal Project and The Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative, and at Yale University, where she holds the 2016-17 Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking residency fellowship at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.

Faculty Links
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
Department web page
High-resolution photo

Media Links
Yale University: Slavery and its Legacies: Wendy S. Hesford (2017)
Yale University: Enslaved girlhoods and children’s rights: Q&A with Wendy S. Hesford (2017)
Mershon Center: Students explore human rights in Mershon-funded study abroad program (2016)
Department of English: Hesford receives Yale fellowship (2016)
Arts and Sciences: Arts and Humanities Teaching Awards (2015)
Department of English: Hesford and Teston to edit new book series (2015)

Mershon Projects
Research on Human Rights, with Amy Shuman (2017-18)
Migration, Political Asylum, and Human Trafficking, with Amy Shuman (2016-17)
Global Human Rights, Sexualities, Vulnerabilities Symposium (2012-13)
Human Rights: Confronting Images and Testimonies, with Amy Shuman (2009-10)