Jody Enders

Distinguished Professor
Director of The Public Speaking Initiative

Office Location

Phelps 5327


Distinguished Professor of French and Theater

Director, The Public Speaking Initiative
Affiliate of the Department of English
Affiliate of Medieval Studies Program



  • University of Pennsylvania, 1980-86
    Ph.D. in Romance Languages, 1986
  • University of Virginia, 1973-80
    M.A. in French Literature, 1979
    B.A. in French, Russian summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1977
  • Université de Paris III, Institut de Langues et Civilisations Orientales, 1975-76



Academic Distinctions and Awards

  • Barnard Hewitt Award, 2003, for outstanding research in Theater History and Cognate Studies, from the American Society of Theatre Research for Death by Drama and Other Medieval Urban Legends
  • Honorable Mention for the Joe A. Callaway Prize for Best Book in Drama or Theatre
  • Finalist for George Freedley Memorial Award from the Theatre Library Association
  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 1999 for Death by Drama and Other Medieval Urban Legends
  • Inaugural Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize, 1993, French and Francophone Studies, awarded by the Modern Language Association, to Rhetoric and the Origins of Medieval Drama
  • Official Visitor to the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University. Spring, 1997
  • Mary Isabel Sibley Award from the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, 1986-87

Research Interests

  • Medieval theater and performance; medieval French literature
  • Theater history; history of comedy
  • History of rhetoric
  • Performance theory
  • Interrelations of law and literature


  • Holy Deadlock and Further Ribaldries: Twelve More Medieval French Plays in Modern English. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017
  • A Cultural History of Theatre: The Middle Ages (ed.) Bloomsbury, forthcoming.
  • The Farce of the Fart and Other Ribaldries: Twelve Medieval French Plays in Modern English. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011
  • Murder by Accident: Medieval Theater, Modern Media, Critical Intentions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009
  • Death by Drama and Other Medieval Urban Legends. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002
  • The Medieval Theater of Cruelty: Rhetoric, Memory, Violence. 1999; rpt. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002
  • Rhetoric and the Origins of Medieval Drama. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992
  • & many articles in such journals as Mediaevalia, Modern Language Quarterly, Rhetorica, Theatre Journal, Yale French Studies
  • Editor, special issue of Theater Survey, 45.2 (November 2004): "Theater History in the New Millenium"

Back to Faculty


A Message from the Director of The Public Speaking Initiative:

Public Speaking Across the Curriculum

            At a moment when the University of California is rising to the challenges posed by twenty-first-century literacies, the communication of our research discoveries has never been more urgent. So too is the training of our undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in effective oral communication, a prerequisite for success in any field, any career, any industry. Since public speaking has long been a staple of most college curricula nationwide, UCSB now renews our commitment to a system-wide approach to its theory and practice. The time-honored rhetorical art of persuasion has always been a pillar of the legal, political, and artistic foundations of multiple communities inside and outside the university.

           Thanks to generous support from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) and from UCSB’s Office of Undergraduate Education and Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, The Public Speaking Initiative is designed to foster creative collaboration UC-wide about the theory and practice of civic persuasion. With this initiative that brings together faculty from Writing Programs, Departments of English, Foreign Languages, Theater, History, Communication, and various interdisciplinary programs, a dedicated coalition of scholars seeks to ready our students to empower themselves as articulate citizens prepared to engage their campuses, their states, their nations, and their world.

            On Saturday, 15 October 2016, the first system-wide Symposium on “Public Speaking Across the Curriculum” will be held at UC Santa Barbara in connection with the UC Writing Conference 2016: “Reflections on the Past and Visions of the Future” ( Our goals include: 1) to share our research on the history, theory, pedagogy, and practice of oral communication; 2) to recommend successful strategies for system-wide implementation of curricula in public speaking; 3) to explore partnerships with local commerce and nonprofits as well as vocational and avocational societies; 4) to work with Research Development Programs in amplifying grant recipients’ expertise in the public outreach increasingly mandated by national granting agencies; and 5) to continue to sustain UC’s mission of diversity through targeted campus workshops, such as those offered in the decade-long history of UCSB’s Public Speaking curriculum for, e.g., Hermanos Unidos, C.L.O.P. (the Community Link Outreach Program), and the National Society of Black Engineers. Consistent with the purpose of UCOP’s Research Opportunity Funds to “increase UC’s competitiveness, advance research discoveries, impact the lives of Californians, inform public policy or support innovative graduate student research,” we believe that the art of oral persuasion is decisive to such impact. Even in our brave new world of the Internet, social media, and mass audiences virtual and actual, communication must still take place face to face.    

                        Jody Enders, Director, The Public Speaking Initiative

                        Distinguished Professor of French




Selected Recent Courses Taught





Spring 2016


Advanced Public Speaking

Winter 2016

ENG 18

Introduction to Public Speaking


FR 147b

La Comédie à travers les âges

Fall 2015

FR 104a

Advanced Critical Writing in French

Spring 2015

FR 101a

Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance French Literature

Winter 2015

FR 151A

Medieval Urban Legends


FR 153a

Medieval French Farce in English Translation

Fall 2014

FR 26

Advanced French Grammar  Composition

Spring 2014

FR 148A

Law and Literature in the Middle Ages

Winter 2010

FR 227C

Medieval Theater and Theatricality

Fall 2008

FR 227A

Introduction to Old French

Fall 2007

FR 233A

Advanced Critical Writing for Graduate Students