UMass Boston


Christopher Martell

Curriculum & Instruction
Grad Prog Dir/Assoc Professor
Associate Professor of Social Studies Education


Christopher Martell is an associate professor of social studies education in UMass Boston’s College of Education and Human Development. His research has appeared in numerous peer-review journals and books. He is the author of the book “Teaching History for Justice: Centering Activism in Students’ Study of the Past” (with Kaylene M. Stevens) and also the editor of the book “Social Studies Teacher Education: Critical Issues and Current Perspectives.”

Area of Expertise

Social studies education, history education, teacher education, social justice, culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogy, inquiry-based instruction


Ed.D., Curriculum and Teaching (Social Studies Education), Boston University
M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, Boston College
BA, History, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Professional Publications & Contributions

Martell, C. C., Martinelle, R., & Chalmers, J. P. (in press). Barriers and pathways to enacting justice-oriented social studies: A longitudinal study of novice teachers. Urban Education.

Shreiner, T. L. & Martell, C. C. (in press). Making race and racism invisible: A critical race analysis of data visualizations in online curricular materials for teaching history. Race, Ethnicity and Education.

Martell, C. C. & Duncan, K. E. (in press). Social studies teachers’ beliefs: Justice, democracy, and global change. In H. Fives & M. Gregoire Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Martinelle, R., Martell, C. C., & Chalmers-Curren, J. P. (2024). Teaching for transformative citizenship: A study of preservice social studies teachers’ developing beliefs and practices. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 19(1), 77-94.

Martinelle, R., Martell, C. C., & Chalmers, J. P. (2023). From rowing together to rowing alone: Beginning teachers’ beliefs and practices related to multicultural democratic citizenship. Teacher Education Quarterly, 50(4), 54-73.

Martell, C. C., & Stevens, K. M. (2023). Teaching movements in history: Understanding collective action, intersectionality, and justice in the past. The History Teacher, 56(3), 343-366.

Martell, C. C. (2023). White elementary teachers and learning to teach race in the social studies classroom: A 6-year longitudinal study. Whiteness and Education, 8(2), 1-33.

Martell, C. C. & Stevens, K. M. (2022). Thinking like an activist in the history classroom. Social Education, 85(5), 333-339.

Martell, C. C. (2022). A longitudinal study of beginning elementary teachers’ beliefs and inquiry-based practices in the history classroom. Teacher Development, 26(5), 627-643.

Martell, C. C., Martinelle, R., & Chalmers-Curren, J. P. (2022). “We need to teach school differently”: Learning to teach social studies for justice. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 46(4), 345-361.

Martell, C. C. & Stevens, K. M. (2022). Learning to teach history for justice: Racial literacies and teacher education. In L. J. King (Ed.), Racial literacies and social studies: Curriculum, instruction, and learning (pp. 181-194). Teachers College Press.

Collins, T., & Martell, C. C. (2022). From praying towns to the National Day of Mourning: Centering Indigenous peoples’ survivance and resistance within American history. In L. M. Harris, M. Sheppard, & S. A. Levy (Eds.), Teaching difficult histories in difficult times: Stories of practice (pp. 105-116). Teachers College Press.

Martell, C. C., Carney, M. M., Marin, K. A., & Hashimoto-Martell, E. A. (2021). Whose research counts? Teacher research and the practitioner-academic divide. The Teacher Educator, 56(4), 399-426.

Stevens, K. M. & Martell, C. C. (2021). Five years later: How the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the #MeToo Movement impacted feminist social studies teachers. Theory & Research in Social Education, 49(2), 201-226.

Erickson, S., Dunne, K. A., & Martell, C. C. (2021). Supporting quality social studies instruction: The social studies practices continuum. Social Studies Research and Practice, 16(2), 172-178.

Martell, C. C. (2020). Barriers to inquiry-based instruction: A longitudinal study of history teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 71(3), 279-291.

Martell, C. C. & Stevens, K. M. (2019). Culturally sustaining social studies teachers: Understanding models of practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 86, 1-11.

Stevens, K. M. & Martell, C. C. (2019). Feminist social studies teachers: The role of teachers’ backgrounds and beliefs in shaping gender-equitable practices. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 43(1), 1-16.

Martell, C. C. (2018). Teaching about race in U.S. history: Examining culturally relevant pedagogy in a multicultural urban high school. Journal of Education, 198(1), 63-77.

Martell, C. C. & Stevens, K. M. (2018). Perceptions of teaching race and gender: Results of a survey of Massachusetts social studies teachers. The High School Journal, 101(4), 274-299.

Martell, C. C. & Stevens, K. M. (2017). Becoming a race-conscious social studies teacher: The influence of personal and professional experiences. The Social Studies, 108(6), 249-260.

Martell, C. C. & Stevens, K. M. (2017). Equity- and tolerance-oriented teachers: Approaches to teaching race in the social studies classroom. Theory & Research in Social Education, 45(4), 489-516.

Martell, C. C. (2017). Approaches to teaching race in elementary social studies: A case study of preservice teachers. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 41(1), 75-87.

Martell, C. C., Bryson, J. R., & Chapman-Hale, W. C. (2017). Teaching racial inequity through the California Gold Rush. In P. Chandler & T. S. Hawley (Eds.), Race lessons: Using inquiry to teach about race in social studies (pp. 61-74). Information Age Publishing.

Martell, C. C. & Sequenzia, M. R. (2016). Working the dialectic: Teaching and learning teacher research in social studies. The Educational Forum, 80(4), 407-416.

Martell, C. C. (2016). Divergent views of race: Examining whiteness in the U.S. history classroom. Social Studies Research and Practice, 11(1), 93-111.

Stevens, K. M. & Martell, C. C. (2016). An avenue for challenging sexism: Examining the high school sociology classroom. Journal of Social Science Education, 15(1), 63-73.

Martell, C. C. (2016). Teaching emerging teacher-researchers: Examining a district-based professional development course. Teaching Education, 27(1), 88-102

Martell, C. C. (2015). Learning to teach culturally relevant social studies: A white teacher’s retrospective self-study. In P. Chandler (Ed.), Doing race in social studies: Critical perspectives (pp. 41-60). Information Age Publishing.

Kissling, M. T. & Martell, C. C. (2014). Analyzing the messages of the State of the Union Address. Social Education, 78(6), 269-272.

Martell, C. C. (2014). Building a constructivist practice: A longitudinal study of beginning history teachers. The Teacher Educator, 49(2), 97-115.

Dunne, K. A. & Martell, C. C. (2013). Teaching America’s past to our newest Americans: Immigrant students and United States history. Social Education, 77(4), 192-195.

Martell, C. C. (2013). Race and histories: Examining culturally relevant teaching in the U.S. history classroom. Theory & Research in Social Education, 41(1), 65-88. >

Martell, C. C. (2013). Learning to teach history as interpretation: A longitudinal study of beginning teachers. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 37(1), 17-31.

Martell, C. C., & Hashimoto-Martell, E. A. (2012). Throwing out the textbook: A teacher research study of changing texts in the history classroom. In H. Hickman & B. J. Porfilio (Eds.), The new politics of the textbook: Critical analysis in the core content areas (pp. 305-320). Sense Publishers.





Additional Information

Dr. Martell has taught EDC U 466/EDC G 662 Social Studies Methods, EDC G 676 Advanced Strategies for Teaching History, Social Studies, and Ethnic Studies, EDC G 626 Integrating Social Studies and the Arts, EDC U 406/EDC G 606 Sociocultural Foundations of Education, EDC U 460/EDC G 660 Using Data to Plan Curriculum and Instruction, and supervises student teachers. Before joining the faculty of UMass Boston, he was a clinical associate professor at Boston University.

Dr. Martell was a high school social studies teacher for 11 years in urban and suburban contexts. For most of his teaching career, he taught at Framingham High School, which is a racially and economically diverse urban school outside Boston with large immigrant populations from Brazil, Central America, and the Caribbean. As a teacher, he engaged in regular examinations of his own classroom practices through action research. His research and professional interests focus on teacher development across the career span, including preservice teacher preparation, inservice professional development, and practitioner inquiry. He is particularly interested in social studies teachers in urban and multicultural contexts, and how they teach for social justice, use culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogy, and engage their students in historical inquiry.