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.