Melody Lehn is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Women’s and Gender Studies at Sewanee: The University of the South, where she also serves as the Assistant Director of the Center for Speaking & Listening and co-directs the Speaking-Across-the Curriculum Initiative. Lehn completed her M.A. (2009) and Ph.D. (2013) in Communication/Rhetoric at the University of Memphis. Lehn earned her B.A. in Communication Studies with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies at Furman University, where she was honored to receive the Endel Medal for Excellence in Mass Communication. Lehn’s academic training is in rhetorical studies, with emphases in public address, rhetorical criticism, and rhetorical pedagogy.

As a student and teacher of public address, Lehn is committed to investigating the ways that rhetoric imagines and sustains our democratic practices and communities. With more than a decade of experience in the classroom, Lehn has received several recognitions for teaching, including the John Angus Campbell Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Memphis in 2009 and 2012, the Southern States Communication Association’s Dwight L. Freshley Award for Excellence in Early Career Teaching in 2018, and the College Award for Recognition in Teaching at Sewanee in 2019.

Lehn researches and writes at the intersection of rhetoric, politics, and gender, with an interest in the public discourse of American women. She has presented more than thirty research papers at state, regional, national, and international conferences and colloquia, and has won several awards for scholarship, including the Morton Dissertation Award at the University of Memphis in 2013 and the Ray Camp Prize for Outstanding Faculty Research from the Carolinas Communication Association in 2016. Her articles and chapters have appeared in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, the Carolinas Communication Annual, and several edited collections about topics as varied as political campaign rhetoric, “venomous speech,” and the Civil Rights sit-ins. She has co-edited two books: Rhetoric: Concord and Controversy (Waveland Press, 2011) with Antonio de Velasco and, most recently, Rhetoric, Race, Religion, and the Charleston Shootings: Was Blind but Now I See (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019) with Sean Patrick O’Rourke, Professor of Rhetoric and American Studies at Sewanee. Lehn’s current book project investigates and maps the use of religious rhetorical appeals to cast Donald Trump as “God’s chosen candidate” in and beyond the 2016 presidential election.

Courses Offered:

RHET 101: Public Speaking

RHET 110: Argumentation & Debate

RHET 220: Teaching Speaking & Listening

RHET 311: U.S. Public Address I: 1620-1865

RHET 331: Voices of American Women