UNT English Associate Professor Aja Martinez Wins Three Awards for her Book | College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
January 19, 2023

UNT English Associate Professor Aja Martinez Wins Three Awards for her Book

The University of North Texas College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) Dr. Aja Martinez recently won three awards recognizing her work in the field of Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Martinez won the Outstanding Book in the Monograph category and the Advancement of Knowledge Award for her book Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory! from the Conference on College Composition & Communication (CCCC) is a constituent organization within the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and she was honored with the Outstanding Book award by the Coalition for Community Writing.

"We are in a fraught political moment in which the stories of the marginalized and oppressed are actively being sought to be silenced, buried, and suppressed," said Martinez. "But you can't kill an idea and our stories will never die. This book is a representation of my genealogy of storytelling traditions, both within and beyond academia, and while it is nice to get this recognition for the work, I know, just like my forebears before I have always known, that story is the method, pedagogy, and theory for the movement. Adelante."

The CCCC nominating committee praised Martinez's work saying "Counterstory offers an excellent framing of CRT with personal storytelling and allegory, in-depth analysis and discussion of the concept of counterstory, and a syllabus for teaching writing with critical race counterstory as the central approach. She offers us counterstory as both method and methodology, enacting the theory she explains. It is useful to both those knowledgeable about counterstory, and those new to the concept. Given the renewed challenges K-12 teachers are now facing for teaching basic historical facts, this book feels essential to knowledge making for all students, but especially minoritized students."

Dr. Martinez, an associate professor with the Department of English conducts research on and teaches a range of courses concerning rhetoric of race and ethnicity, including the rhetoric of race within both Western and non-Euro-Western contexts, and beginning, professional and advanced writing courses.

Her award-winning book, Counterstory: The Writing and Rhetoric of Critical Race Theory (NCTE 2020), presents counterstory as a method by which to actualize critical race theory in rhetoric and writing studies research and pedagogy. Her work argues specifically that counterstory provides methods and methodology for other(ed) perspectives to contribute to conversations about narrative, the dominant ideology, and their intersecting influence on curricular standards and institutional practices. Dr. Martinez's body of scholarship provides an interdisciplinary understanding of how counterstory functions while accomplishing a further goal of establishing counterstory as a pedagogically employable method in writing classrooms.

"This book enacts counterstory as a methodology and explains it as a theory. Martinez builds upon critical race theory to legitimize the experiences of the marginalized and urge their participation in advancing academic discourse", said selection committee members Anne Ruggles Gere, Clint Gardner, and Shyam Sharma." "This book generously shares teaching materials and experiences to ensure that counterstory reaches the next generation of scholars. It responds directly to calls for anti-racist pedagogies and decolonial practices that centralize the voices of multiply-marginalized scholars, students, and communities."

In addition to her monograph, Dr. Martinez is co-editor with Dr. Vershawn Ashanti Young of Code-meshing as World English: Policy, Pedagogy, and Performance (NCTE 2011), co-editor of the multimodal journal Writers: Craft and Context, and her scholarship has appeared nationally and internationally in several edited collections and journals.

Martinez is a highly sought CRT expert, she has spoken on the topic at Auburn University, Ball State University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, just to name a few. She's also appeared on podcasts and webinars.

Later this month, Dr. Martinez will join guests for the University of Southern California Rossier Pullias Center for Higher Education on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 12 Noon CST. The webinar is free, and interested guests can register here.

Dr. Martinez will be presented with her awards at the CCCC Annual Convention in Chicago, IL. next month.

Aja Martinez work

Conference on College Composition and Communication's Outstanding Book Award, 2023

Conference on College Composition and Communication's Advancement of Knowledge book award, 2023

Coalition for Community Writing's Outstanding Book Award, 2021

About the Conference on College Composition and Communication is committed to supporting the agency, power, and potential of diverse communicators inside and outside of postsecondary classrooms. CCCC advocates for broad and evolving definitions of literacy, communication, rhetoric, and writing (including multimodal discourse, digital communication, and diverse language practices) that emphasize the value of these activities to empower individuals and communities. CCCC promotes intellectual and pedagogical freedom and ethical scholarship and communication. To this end, CCCC and its members.

About the Coalition for Community Writing Awards is an international organization of educators, scholars, writers, students, entrepreneurs, and community change-makers who believe in the transformative potential of partnering people across higher education, non-profits, social innovation, and the public sector to use writing toward social change. CCW provides resources, consultation, and partnership to its members, as well as in-person and virtual gatherings, such as its Conference on Community Writing, in order to foster successful writing initiatives that promote healthy and resilient communities. CCW supports community writing through research and publication in its affiliated peer programming, leadership development, and relationship building across communities.