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Land of Disenchantment: Latina/o Identities and Transformations in Northern New Mexico

Michael L. Trujillo

Cover of Land of Disenchantment: Latina/o Identities and Transformations in Northern New Mexico

"Michael Trujillo's Land of Disenchantment is astonishing, both for its scholarly depth and, more importantly, for its honesty. As an ethnographic study of the Espanola Valley it offers a searing account of the negative realities that trouble Nuevomexicanos: poverty, drugs, violence. And, yet, Trujillo probes into these social and material difficulties with a spirit that suggests how creativity, identity, and will to survive emerge from tragedy to produce a positive aesthetics of joking, storytelling, weaving, and cultural ritual that keeps people alive to their long history and to their dreams."
--GENARO PADILLA, Associate Professor of English, University of California at Berkeley

NEW MEXICO'S ESPANOLA VALLEY IS SITUATED IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE state between the fabled Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains. Many of the Valley's communities have roots in the Spanish and Mexican periods of colonization, while the Native American Pueblos of Ohkay Owingeh and Santa Clara are far older. In this experimental ethnography, Michael Trujillo presents a vision of Espanola that addresses its denigration by neighbors--and some of its residents--because it represents the antithesis of the supposedly "positive" narrative of New Mexico. Contradicting the popular notion of New Mexico as the "Land of Enchantment," a fusion of race, landscape, architecture, and food into a romanticized commodity, Trujillo probes beneath the surface to reveal the struggle and pain brought about by colonization and the transition from a pastoral to an urban economy, as well as the limits of common ethnographic representations. Land of Disenchantment contains both Trujillo's original ethnography and his explorations of creative works by Valley residents Policarpio Valencia, Jim Sagel, Teresa Archuleta, and G. Benito Cordova.

Available for purchase here.