Doctoral alum José Ángel Maldonado’s dissertation, "Diana’s Confession: Precarious Rhetoric in Post-NAFTA Mexico," has been named the recipient of the Rhetoric Society of America’s Dissertation Award for 2018. The Dissertation Award is presented annually for work published or defended during the previous year for the best dissertation in the field of Rhetorical Studies completed by a student member of the Society. The Rhetoric Society of America is the premier rhetoric studies association drawing from Communication, English, and Writing.
The nominees are judged on originality, engagement with primary and secondary texts, clear and engaging prose and style, and a strong prospect for publication as a book. Dr. Maldonado’s dissertation was selected from a strong pool of nominated dissertations and he is the first University of Utah student to win this award. The win is significant in that it highlights the high quality of his research on Mexican rhetorics.
Dr. Maldonado’s dissertation studies violence and death in Mexico in relation to larger geo-political and economic shifts. His multi methodological approach includes the centering of indigenous communities, uses rhetorical field methods, and theorizes race, nation, and violence within the context of globalization. His work is groundbreaking in the field because it expands Latinx studies in the field of communication to better consider Mexican rhetoric and create ties with Mexican and other Latinx theorists/scholars. Dr. Maldonado's dissertation examines both primary and secondary texts, challenges us to participate in understanding rhetorical remnants, and required a massive amount of translation work in addition to the theoretical, analytical work typical in a dissertation.
José Ángel Maldonado is currently an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He specializes in rhetorical theory and cultural studies, specifically focusing on the ways that the militarization of Mexican cities and towns has altered civic life.