A woman smiling, with long, dark hair, wearing wire-framed glasses and a grey blouse.

Nelesi Rodrigues

Assistant Professor, Tenure Stream
Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy

Nelesi Rodriguez (she/her) is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP) with a shared appointment in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), in the Adult Education and Community Development program. She has a Ph.D. in Composition, Literacy, Pedagogy, and Rhetoric and a Certificate in Gender Sexuality and Women Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.

Nelesi’s experiences as a Luso Venezuelan migrant living in Turtle Island, an English writing teacher, and a life-long dance practitioner inform her scholarly research. One question serves as a through line in her work: How can attention to movement––creative, geographical, political––help us develop more just and accessible pedagogies? Her projects often find answers to this question in informal, community-based learning contexts such as a transnational dance theatre company or a feminist cycling collective. Nelesi’s research has been recognized through several competitive fellowships, including the Fulbright Foreign Student Program Fellowship and the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Her writing has been published in the journals Spectator and Inmaterial, and her most recent work will be included in Rhetorica Rising: Advancing Feminist Rhetorical Methods and Methodologies, a follow-up collection by the editors of Rhetorica in Motion: Feminist Rhetorical Methods and Methodologies.

As a teacher, Nelesi recognizes that students’ particular lived experiences before and during their college years shape the ways in which they relate to English, writing, and academia. She believes that inviting students’ full selves and different ways of knowing into writing classrooms widens the range of what is possible. In her pedagogical practice, she works to cultivate learning environments characterized by reflection, experimentation, trust, and accountability. In addition to teaching writing courses, Nelesi has worked as a writing centre tutor, a tutor for the Pitt Prison Education Project, a mentor for graduate instructors, and a creative movement facilitator with older adults and intergenerational communities

Ph.D. (Composition, Literacy, Pedagogy, and Rhetoric, University of Pittsburgh)
M.A. (Media Studies, The New School)
B.A. (Communication Studies, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello)


Rodriguez, N. “The Spells of Ananya Dance Theatre’s Movement,” Rhetorica in Motion II: Feminist Rhetorical Methods and Methodologies, co-edited by Eileen E. Schell, K.J. Rawson, Abby Long, Curtis J. Jewell, Sidney Turner, and Gabriella Wilson. University of Pittsburgh Press. Under Review.

Awanjo, A., Harris, T.; Holding, C.; Lane, S.; Rodriguez, N.; Saito, N.; Scott, K.; & Shirazi, T. (2022) “Student Writing About Student Writing,” Inventing the Discipline: Student Writing in Composition Studies, Peter Moe and Stacey Waite eds., Parlor Press.

Rodriguez, N. (2018) “The Question of the Subject in Times of the Quantified Self.” Spectator, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 44–50.

Manwelyan, E, and Rodriguez, N. (2017) “Of Vessels, Conduits, and Instruments: Reflections from the Bodies as Media Working Group,” co-authored with Eugenia Manwelyan. INMATERIAL. Design, Arts & Society, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 91–115.