Nancy Alicia Martínez appointed as Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature

Published: June 12, 2024

Nancy Alicia Martínez has been appointed Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at UCLA.

In September 2024, Martínez will receive her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University after successfully defending her dissertation, Breaking the Book: Maya and German Literary Experiments Since 1945. Her project examines the history of the book as an object and concept, using it to rework how to expand and alter current literary and historical frameworks for understanding inscription practices.

Martínez specializes in the transhistorical dialogue between Central American and European written and print cultures. Working with English, Spanish, German, and K’iche materials, her research engages with media theory, Indigenous studies, decolonial theory, sound studies, and book history.

“While much of my work looks at 20th-century creative production, working with the long history of material cultures that helped form more recent inscription practices critically informs how I dialogue Indigenous and Latinx cultures with those of the Global North,” said Martínez. Because inscriptions and modes of interpretation vary by region and culture, her work focuses specifically on Maya traditions of ts’íib and Germanophone-Central European print and writing cultures.

According to Martínez, she is particularly excited to teach students about the creative cultures and traditions of Abiayala, positioning them more regionally as a hemispheric study of the Americas and in a global context.

“Although I’ll be focusing on teaching specifically about the Hispanophone, Germanophone, and K’iche’-speaking worlds, I’m looking forward to supporting undergraduate and graduate students on more broadly decolonial and Indigenous studies research,” said Martínez.

As a dedicated advocate for archival work and the stories it unveils, Martínez is eager and deeply committed to collaborating with colleagues and students on research involving different record-keeping practices worldwide. She is particularly excited to bring her work on Maya culture inscriptions to conversations at the CMRS Center for Early Global Studies (CMRS-CEGS) and the “Race in the Global Past through Native Lenses” project.

Martínez values the dynamic history and presence of the diverse scholars and students at UCLA who actively respond to the concerns of the world around them. As an early-career scholar, she is not only keen but also deeply appreciative of the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues who push the boundaries of their work. She sees outreach as an exciting prospect and is eager to be a part of the dynamic history of care and foster a sense of mutual respect and appreciation in her audience.

Please join us in congratulating Assistant Professor Martínez on her appointment and welcoming her to UCLA.