Kelly Jakes

Associate Professor

Address: 9 College Way, Room 301

Dr. Kelly Jakes joined the Department of Communication in 2019. She earned her masters and doctorate degrees in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research program 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.

Dr. Jakes moved to Charleston from Detroit where she taught rhetoric, social movements, and speech at Wayne State University. A native of North Carolina and an alumna of Furman University, she is delighted to return to the south and spend more time outside with her family and hound dog. When she isn’t teaching, researching, or parenting, she loves to cook, eat, and go to CrossFit classes.


M.A. and Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Interests

  • Rhetoric and Culture
    • Social Movements
    • Resistance
    • Music
  • Oral Communication



  • Kelly Jakes, Strains of Dissent: Popular Music and Everyday Resistance in WWII France, 1940-1945. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2019.


  • Kelly Jakes, “‘Natural’ Virtuosos: Paradoxical Polysemy and the Rhetoric of the Fisk Jubilee Singers,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 108:3 (2022): 271-291.
  • Jennifer Keohane and Kelly Jakes, “Soldiers and Scholars: Evaluating Female Engagement Teams in the War in Afghanistan,” Women’s Studies in Communication 44:1 (2021): 102- 118.
  • Kelly Jakes and Sarah Walker, "Crafty Capitalism: Arts and Crafts Ideology in Vaudeville Advertising," Western Journal of Communication 84:2 (2020): 168-185.
  • Kelly Jakes, "Songs of Our Fathers: Gender and Nationhood at the Liberation of France," Rhetoric & Public Affairs 20 :3 (2017): 3 85-419. [Lead article]
  • Kelly Jakes, "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.