Affiliation at time of award:
Department of Anthropology
University of New Mexico
Photo courtesy of Laurel Burgio-Ericson
In the Celestial City and the Middle Place: Cultural Negotiations in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico Missions
Dr. Burgio-Ericson’s book project explores encounters among Pueblo Indians and Franciscan missionaries in the seventeenth-century Spanish borderlands. His interdisciplinary research demonstrates that mendicant mission residences (conventos) were living and working places for mixed communities of Spanish friars and coerced Indigenous laborers. As part of the dialogue between ritual life and everyday practices within the Zuni missions of western New Mexico, participants navigated divergent Spanish and Pueblo cosmologies through the interrelated regimes of everyday labor and liturgical ritual. Architectural forms and practices of mendicant friars invoked millenarian and monastic ideals, while Pueblo cosmological conceptions of their towns as sacred centers in an animate world persevered. This work illuminates an understudied foundational chapter of American history, emphasizing the crucial role of Native and Latinx people in shaping the contested nature of our society today.