Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

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Stephanie A. Martin

Stephanie A. Martin

Associate Professor

Sam (Stephanie A.) Martin is a scholar of public address and political communication, with a particular interest in the public discourses of conservative social movements, especially evangelical voters. Martin argues that through understanding the stories these believers tell one another – especially in their churches – about American exceptionalism, traditionalism and the importance of hard work, we can come to understand something about their political priorities. That is, these Christians are not only, or even primarily, concerned about values questions like abortion, but instead share a worldview about who the country once was and so should be again. This, in turn, sheds some light on their relative lack of support for both the Obama presidency, as well as their surprising embrace of Donald Trump.

Martin has also written about the rights of citizens to protest and dissent, and questions of visual ethics and photography given the realities of digital journalism and the First Amendment.

Martin brings nearly 20 years of experience in corporate, media and political (campaign) work to bear in her research. She worked for her first political campaign in the summer between her senior year of high school and first year of college, when she volunteered at a phone bank for a candidate to the United States Senate from her home state of Idaho. Since that time, she has remained an active participant in and observer of the United States political process and has worked on both national and statewide campaigns. As a media practitioner, Martin served as a project coordinator and staff writer for a PBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., and has also written extensively for several business-to-business publications sponsored by General Motors. She began her career as a project manager and industrial engineer, first for the Boeing Company and then for Hewlett-Packard.

As a teacher, Martin is deeply committed to helping students learn to think critically and ask hard, yet often obvious questions, as well as find ways to make their classroom experiences apply to their everyday, practical (and professional) lives. She encourages her students to apply their education to questions of social justice wherever they can, and to believe in the always-revolutionary notion that one person can make a real difference in the world.

Dr. Martin frequently appears as an expert commentator and as a consultant for news stories.


Ph.D., Communication, University of California, San Diego
M.A., Journalism, Syracuse University (Newhouse School)
B.B.A., Production and Operations Management, Boise State University


Free speech, First Amendment, political communication

Representative Publications


Columns to Characters: The Presidency and the Press Enter the Digital Age – Texas A&M Press

Visual Ethics: A Guide for Photographers, Journalists and Filmmakers – Routledge, by Paul Martin Lester with Stephanie A. Martin and Martin Smith-Rodden

Decoding the Digital Church: Evangelical Storytelling and the Election of Donald Trump. Manuscript under review. Under advance contract with University of Alabama Press, Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique Series

Journal Articles

Recession Resonance: How Evangelical Megachurch Pastors Promoted Fiscal Conservatism in the Aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crash – Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Spring 2015

Dada in the Public Square: Police, Protest, and Creative Dissent – 2017 Special Issue

Popular Media Appearances

Media Writing

In the wake of tragedy, Trump takes rhetoric of fear to a whole new level – The Conversation (with Dr. Christopher Salinas)

Media Appearances

Have Evangelical Voting Patterns Changed? KERA’s Friday Conversation

Younger voters ‘don’t have same sense of achievement’ with Clinton

SMU professor on Tuesday election expectations

Reading Between The Tweets: Covering The White House In The Social Media Age


Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Undergraduate Studies

Faculty and Staff

Student Resources

Advising Guide


Debate and Speech

Dallas Resources

Advisory Board


Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts