Rafael Martínez

Academic Fellow 2021
Assistant Professor of Southwest Borderlands
ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts; Southwest Borderlands

Polytechnic Campus


Rafael Martínez is an assistant professor of Southwest Borderlands in the College of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication. Rafael’s work focuses on immigration, migration, the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, and the American Southwest. At ASU, he teaches courses on the American Southwest, the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, and Popular Culture Issues. Rafael is also a Program Faculty for the MA Narrative Studies program in CISA. 

As an advocate of community-based-history projects, Rafael is engaged in public projects that seek to connect academic work with community development. As such, he is a current recipient of Knowledge Exchange for Resilience Fellowship where he is co-creating community based research on undocumented populations in the Phoenix Valley. Rafael is part of the inaugural Interdisciplinary Solutions for Social Impact Graduate Faculty program.

Additionally, Rafael is the co-founder of the statewide oral history project, Humans of New Mexico, and also UndocuTalks, a podcast on immigrant rights through an undocumented perspective.


Ph.D. American Studies, University of New Mexico (2020) 

M.A. American Studies, University of New Mexico (2014)

B.B. History and Chicana and Chicano Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills (2012)


Martínez, Rafael. “Transformative Borders in Cinema: Evolving Concepts of Migrant Crossings.” La Frontera: Reflections on Borders in American Culture, edited by Judit Agnes Kadar and Andras Tarnoc. Americana eBooks, 2017. https://ebooks.americanaejournal.hu/books/la-frontera/ 

Martinez, Rafael A., Schreiber, Rebecca, “Sovereignty and Sanctuary: A Roundtable,”Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures. Indiana University, 2018. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/chiricu.3.issue-1 

Martínez, Rafael, Orozco, Froilan, Canales-Navarrete, Nancy. “‘Even if you’re not going to plant, use your water:’ Forging Identity Through Cultural Practices.” Chamisa: A Journal of Literacy, Performance, and Visual Arts of the Greater Southwest, vol. 1, no. 1, 2021, p. 101-116. https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/chamisa/ 

Expertise Areas

Activism and Social Movements

American and Ethnic Studies


Chicano/a Studies

Cultural Studies

Digital Narratives

Immigration and Migration

Oral History

Southwest Studies

U.S.-Mexico Border