La Resolana: tracing the communicative cartographies of gathering spaces in North central New Mexico
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This study investigates how public gathering places directly relate to the formation of social movements in the Española Valley of northern New Mexico. Specifically, the project examines la Resolana, a local tradition of congregating in a public place where the sun reflects its warmth off a southern-facing wall in a plaza or courtyard. This study brings together anthropological and ethno historical data in order to contextualize the emergence of new politically active gathering spaces that invoke the historical name of resolana. Following the production and circulation of the term resolana, this project pursues three lines of investigation: first, I will present ethnographic research of contemporary resolana practices in public places such as town plazas, restaurants and department stores. Next, I will discuss the cultural production of a local Chicano think tank, La Academia de la Nueva Raza, (LADLNR) from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. Then, the dissertation will address LADLNR’s theorization and deployment of the concept of resolana as a cultural metaphor for political action and local knowledge production. Finally, I will address how today these forms of resolana articulate and factor into its contemporary implementation in the growing social movements in the state by socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in acequia (communal irrigation) communities. This study engages a fundamental question in anthropology, which asks, how does place and space shape the formation of social movements? This question is explored in a new way theoretically in this study by looking at how resolana as a cultural form constitutes larger subjectivities called publics and counter-publics. In other words, this study offers an approach to cultural public spheres in northern New Mexico by examining discursive forms of speaking, gathering, and social mobilization.