The Santa Fe Fiesta, Reinvented
FREE Discussion and Book Signing with Sarah Bronwen Horton
Book Event, National Hispanic Cultural Center
Sunday, September 11, 2011, 2:00–4:00 pm
Discussion and book signing with Sarah Bronwen Horton (author of The Santa Fe Fiesta, Reinvented: Staking Ethno-Nationalist Claims to a Disappearing Homeland, SAR Press) and Andrew Leo Lovato (author of Elvis Romero and Fiesta de Santa Fe, Featuring Zozobra's Great Escape, Museum of New Mexico Press).
“This study offers fresh insight into the icons, roles, performances, and players that make up the Santa Fe Fiesta. Horton shows how this popular festival has become a symbolic assertion of cultural nationalism in response to the social and economic forces that are driving Hispanos from the gentrified core of the city...an important contribution...will interest students, scholars, and residents of the region.”
—Sylvia Rodríguez, UNM Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Director, Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies
The Santa Fe Fiesta, Reinvented: Staking Ethno-Nationalist Claims to a Disappearing Homeland adds a new perspective on the controversial identity formation of New Mexico’s Hispanos. Through close readings of canonical texts by New Mexican historian Fray Angélico Chávez about La Conquistadora, a fifteenth-century Marian icon to whom legend credits Don Diego De Vargas’s “peaceful” resettlement, and through careful attention to the symbolic action of the event, this book explores the tropes of gender, time, genealogy, and sexuality through which this form of cultural nationalism is imagined. Interviews and archival research reveal that even as Hispanos were increasingly minoritized in the former homeland site of Santa Fe, Hispano elites progressively invented and re-created the four cultural organizations that organize the Fiesta to lay claim to this disappearing homeland. Such organizations not only Hispanicized the Fiesta’s content and key roles, usurping the role of De Vargas from Anglos, but sacralized their claims through foregrounding the role of Hispanos’ “sacred mother,” La Conquistadora. With narratives of Fiesta organizers and colorful vignettes of life in contemporary Santa Fe, this book documents Hispanos’ veiled protest of Anglo imperialism and the transformation of this city into what has been called an “Adobe Disneyland.”