The land of disenchantment: transformation, continuity, and negation in the greater Española Valley, New Mexico
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This dissertation examines the views that people hold of New Mexican Hispanic racial/ethnic identity and/or assignment in the Española Valley of northcentral New Mexico. Included in this exploration are tropes that idealize New Mexico as the "Land of Enchantment" and Española in opposing and often disparaging terms. Deploying Hegelian notions of "negativity" and "negation," this dissertation reviews these characterizations of Española and New Mexico and argues that the Valley represents the negative hidden within and necessitated by tropes of enchantment. This dissertation is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Española over the course of three years (2000, 2001, 2002) and reviews of the anthropological and popular literature about Española and neighboring communities. In each of this dissertation's chapters, I explore the dialectical construction of this vision of Española and New Mexico. The first chapter analyzes the ethnographic writings of two cohorts of anthropologists that conducted fieldwork in the Española xii area in the 1960s and 1970s. The second chapter explores the embroidery of Española Valley native, Policarpio Valencia. The third chapter considers both the life and writings of Jim Sagel and his love for a New Mexican woman, artist Teresa Archuleta. The fourth and fifth chapters examine two acts that deconstructed positive visions of the Valley, the vandalism of a statue of conquistador and New Mexico founder Don Juan de Oñate and the murder of two teenagers as they walked in the annual Good Friday pilgrimage to Chimayó. In the final chapter, I examine current drug use in the Española Valley. My goal is to present a vision of Española that encompasses both the positive and negative, thus absorbing contradictions rather than abolishing them. Ultimately, I intend for these chapters, each written in the form of an essay, to constitute a social and anthropological commentary on the Española Valley.