Levi Romero, Assistant Professor in Chicana and Chicano Studies, and director of the New Mexico Cultural Studies Certificate Program in CCS, is from the Embudo Valley of northern New Mexico. Romero’s documentary work focuses on cultural landscapes studies and sustainable building methodologies of northern New Mexico, including centuries-old traditions of acequia systems, molinos, salas and other agrarian and cultural contexts related to the upper Rio Grande watershed. He is currently working on an oral history project, Following the Manito Trail, chronicling the diaspora of Nuevo Méxicanos to Wyoming and other parts of the southwest. He is also assisting on several community projects, including La Sala Filantropica as an Oral History Documentation and Archive Center in Embudo. He is the author of several award winning books, Sagrado: A Photopoetics Across the Chicano Homeland, A Poetry of Remembrance, and In the Gathering of Silence. His film documentary, Going Home Homeless, received the People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Taos Short Films Festival. He was awarded the post of New Mexico Centennial Poet in 2012.
Courses taught by Levi Romero:
Un Trip Through New Mexico’s Literary Landscape and Beyond
This is a survey course of Chicano/a letters and the spoken word tradition in New Mexico and beyond. Beginning with the Discovery period, El Movimiento, and through the Contemporary, we will journey through a poetic odyssey that navigates through a diversity of poets, storytellers, singers/songwriters, and spoken word artists whose work honors the poetic tradition in a diversity of forms. In addition, we will explore a multiplicity of genres such as cuentos, corridos, inditas, and alabados as forms of ritual and cultural expression in the written and oral tradition. Literature, film, video, music and live recitals will inform our interdisciplinary study and analysis.
Acequia Landscapes: Water, Land, Community
With irrigation methodologies derived from Middle Eastern, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Indigenous peoples, these ancient community waterways known as acequias continue to function in the manner established in New Mexico by los nuevos pobladores (new settlers) more than 400 years ago. This class will examine the acequia cultural ecosystem and its unique traditions and practices. Students will learn about acequia terminology, concepts, laws, governance, and religious rituals vital to acequia communities.
New Mexico Villages and Cultural Landscapes
Before the age of strip malls, big-box supercenters, store-bought produce, and cyberspace social networks, New Mexicans gathered in plazas, grew their own vegetable gardens, and engaged in platicas to share stories and exchange knowledge and information. Our class will examine various cultural settings and traditions such as plazas, salas, resolanas, matanzas, acequia culture, and read from a collection of narratives that celebrate community and explore New Mexico’s cultural heritage from its not-so-easily-forgotten past through the present day.