Wayne State University

Dr. Kelly Jakes


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Kelly Jakes (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) joined the Wayne State communication studies faculty, Fall 2014. Her research focuses broadly on issues pertaining to rhetoric and culture, with special attention to social movements, resistance and music. She examines how marginalized or dissident citizens use verbal and nonverbal discourse to build solidarity, reassign political authority and contest norms of national identity, gender, race and class. Overall, her work combines concepts of subjectivity and performance with the deeply contextualized study of oral communication.

Jakes' critically and theoretically informed approach to rhetoric is best reflected in her book project Popular Music and Resistance in Occupied France, 1940-1945. Here, she argues that popular music from jazz hits played on the radio, to folk tunes sung in the hideaways of Resistance fighters, to operettas and instrumental music performed in camps by prisoners of war, served as rhetorical material for dissent and resistance in German-occupied France between 1940 and 1945. Despite German censorship, popular music proved a powerful tool with which French people reclaimed and reshaped French identity during a time of political and social upheaval. Analyzing musical performances of three different groups who were active opponents of Vichy France and Nazi Germany – Parisian teenagers, Resistance fighters and French prisoners of war – Jakes' book explicates how music provided a rhetorical means for the French to reject the politics of collaboration and subvert the alleged purity of Nazi social order.

View Prof. Jakes' curriculum vitae.

Degrees and Certifications

Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014

M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009

B.A., Furman University, 2006

Primary Research Interest

rhetorical criticism, public address, rhetorical theory, social movements, popular culture, performance studies, resistance, music, subjectivity

Recent Publications

Kelly Jakes, “Songs of Our Fathers: Gender and Nationhood at the Liberation of France,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs (forthcoming).

“La France en Chantant: The Rhetorical Construction of French Identity in Songs of the Resistance Movement,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 99:3 (2013): 317-340.

Courses Taught

COM 2110, Argumentation and Debate

COM 2160, Campaigns and Social Movements

COM 7250, Rhetorical Criticism