In This Article New Mexico

  • Introduction
  • Borderlands History (Mexican, Spanish, and Colonial Eras)

Latino Studies New Mexico
by
Michael L. Trujillo
  • LAST MODIFIED: 19 March 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0042

Introduction

Since New Mexico’s incorporation into the United States following the Mexican-American War, New Mexico’s percentage of Latinos has exceeded any other state or territory within the continental United States. Today, New Mexico is the most–Latin American of US states and, unlike the island territory of Puerto Rico, is clearly incorporated within the boundaries of the American nation. This large Latina/o or Nuevomexicana/o population supports an in situ regional scholarly, political, and cultural tradition continuous with its Spanish-colonial and Mexican-national pasts. While immigration from Mexico and Central America plays an increasingly significant role, New Mexico’s nonimmigrant regional tradition makes the New Mexican experience both central to and an outlier for Latina/o studies and Chicana/o studies. This article uses that tradition to demarcate its analysis rather than relying on the state of New Mexico’s current political boundaries. As will become quickly evident, this regional literature is vast and this bibliography can only serve as an introduction. Spanish-colonial hierarchies and Latin American racial discourses shaped Nuevomexicanos’ self-understandings since the Spanish and Mexican periods. In the early 20th century, the disciplines of folklore and anthropology, as well as the presence of Santa Fe’s vast art market, became especially important. In the wake of the Chicano movement and the academic recognition of Chicana/o studies, Chicana/o ethnopoetics and scholarly discourses have shaped Nuevomexicano identity, even if sometimes in explicit opposition. Themes of gendered domination have risen to prominence since the 1980s, especially in literature and art. This article is organized into sections that systematically describe “New Mexico” in historical and explicitly political, cultural, and artistic terms. Underlying axes include resource conflict and binaries such as European and indigenous descent, isolation and interpenetration, indigenous/mestizo pasts and a colonized Anglo-present, and gendered oppression. In sum, “New Mexico” represents both a topic of interdisciplinary analysis and a regional scholarly tradition that both confirms and upends broader Chicana/o studies and Latina/o studies models.

Regional Overviews and Related Texts

New Mexico scholars have long considered the meaning of “New Mexico” and the meaning of what it means to be “Nuevomexicano” or “Nuevomexicana.” In the US-Mexico borderlands, this intense elaboration and confrontation with regional identity may only be rivaled by Tejano scholarship. The boundaries of this regional discourse are unclear and the terms for New Mexican regional ethnic/racial identity are characterized by great diversity. Many of the articles in this bibliography grapple with the complexities of this identity and some explicitly argue for specific understandings. While this bibliography tends to use the term Nuevomexicana/o where no other terms seem best, its author eschews the primacy of one identity. For more on the reasoning for not asserting a single “correct” term, see Trujillo 2009a (pp. xiv–xvi, 40–43; cited under Nuevomexicano Identity and Alterity). This section is divided into subsections addressing the Meaning of New Mexico or Nuevo México, Nuevomexicano Identity and Alterity, and understanding Multicultural New Mexico.

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