School of Education Assistant Professor Cati de los Ríos has been awarded the 2018 Promising Researcher Award by the Standing Committee on Research of the National Council of Teachers of English. This honor is conferred annually to a researcher who has produced an original and outstanding paper from their dissertation within two years of the award year. de los Ríos was given the award for her unique research article about a U.S.–Mexican transnational high school student’s engagement with Mexican ballads, called “corridos,” as a way to understand his social and political world and explore language, music and literacy.
“This award is extremely special to me,” said de los Ríos. “I was raised listening to corridos, banda and Norteño music with my family members, and it was one of the literacy practices that most connected me to my primarily Mexican immigrant students as a public school teacher in Southern California. The student who is centered in the article, Joaquín, exemplifies with vivid clarity the profound and sophisticated genius of transnational young people that critically read, write and perform corridos, and the ways in which some of these songs critique and deconstruct exacerbated sociopolitical climates and complex transnational issues like the disastrous impacts of globalization, state-sanctioned violence and capitalism.”
These highly evolved literacy practices often go unnoticed in classrooms, and according to de los Ríos, are rarely seen as a form of adolescent literacy. “Given how central corridos are to many Mexican immigrant family households, I was surprised to learn that corrido literacies were completely invisible in adolescent literacy research,” she said. “It is an immense honor to be able to elevate Joaquín’s case study as a contribution to the field.”
de los Ríos’s paper, “Toward a Corridista Consciousness: Learning from One Transnational Youth’s Critical Reading, Writing, and Performance of Mexican Corridos,” has been published in advance online and will be published this fall in the top-tier international journal Reading Research Quarterly.