Abigail Orenstein Ash, PhD

Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric

Abigail Orenstein


Ravenhill Mansion 201
Philadelphia, PA 19129

Email Abigail Orenstein Ash

Abigail Orenstein Ash, PhD

Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric


Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Composition, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA - 2018
Master of Arts in Teaching English, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY - 2009
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA - 2006



500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Kripalu Yoga Center, Yoga on Main


  • Outstanding Instructor Award, Temple University - 2011
  • Dissertation Completion Grant, Temple University - 2017

Research Interest

I focus on the rhetoric of the mind/body, the emotional/affective consequences of education, the language and voice of mental illness, and chronic pain narratives. Because of my perspective and passion for conceiving of teaching and learning as a location of personal struggle and personal healing, my dissertation, defended in 2017, unearths and defines the yogic undercurrent of the discipline of rhetorical studies and writing pedagogy. I define this yogic undercurrent within a vocabulary I term yogic agency. Yogic agency is a perspective of writing pedagogy and practice for the writing classroom. Within the theory and practice of yogic agency is revised understanding of the writing classroom, or what I term, “tenderness toward groundlessness.” Prior to my Doctorate, I completed intensive training in yoga and meditation, theatre and improvisation. My passion and preoccupation with yoga as both a physical and mental perspective undergirds all of my research, teaching and pedagogy. The inevitable physical and mental struggles of life I thus conceive not as separate from, but as integral to, teaching and learning. Ultimately, using my background in acting, dance and yoga, I aim to integrate a philosophy of improvisation (saying “yes, and—”) in each classroom that I lead. My goal each day is to mobilize student agency insofar as I lay the groundwork for students to trust their own rhetorical choices and eventually, their clinical language and actions. 

Focus Areas

rhetoric, writing pedagogy, disability studies, yogic perspective, the language of mental illness.