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Fall 2018 Visiting Scholars at the Center for Southwest Research

by Nancy Brown-Martinez on 2018-12-11T14:12:00-07:00 in Library, CSWR | Comments

This Fall various scholars are working at the Center for Southwest Research (CSWR) archives.  Among them is Grecia Jurado-Azuara, a Ph.D. student in Art History at the National University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City.  She is a historian interested in feminism as expressed in art, specifically in photographic work.  She has a Masters in Modern and Contemporary History from the Dr. José María Luis Mora Institute in Mexico.  Her dissertation is about the American photographer Winfield Scott and the women portrayed on his images.  This investigation will be part of a forthcoming book.

She is researching Margaret Randall’s photographs and papers held at the CSWR.  She plans to write about Randall’s graphic and journalistic work covering the revolutions in Cuba and Nicaragua.  Randall is a photographer, journalist and oral historian from Albuquerque, who taught at UNM.  She documented the lives and struggles of women in Latin American and Vietnam.

Jurado-Azuara has received various scholarships and fellowships.  She completed her Master studies with a scholarship from the Mexican National Science and Technology Council (Conacyt).  The Council also aided her PHD studies.  She also held a fellowship from the National Investigator System (Mexico) in 2012 and 2017.

Another scholar is Dr. Sonia Balasch, who is a Sociolinguist, originally from Venezuela.  She graduated from UNM, went away to teach, and returned to research at the CSWR.  She holds a MA in Spanish and a PhD in Spanish-Hispanic Linguistics from UNM.  She teaches Spanish and Linguistics classes at Eastern Mennonite University, in Harrisonburg, VA.  Balasch has contrasted Peninsular and Latin American varieties of Spanish and has studied the impact of Spanish-English contact on contemporary New Mexican Spanish.

At the CSWR, Balasch has collected, digitized and analyzed more than 1,000 Spanish letters written in Territorial New Mexico.  They came from the collections of Felipe Chaves, Nicolas T. Armijo, the Contreras family, John L. Gay, Michael Steck, and William G. Ritch.  She was noting the use of “a” with direct objects (Spanish Differential Object Marking or Spanish DOM) and other linguistic phenomena.  In a related project, Balasch is studying the letters of the controversial New Mexico figure, Diego Archuleta, giving him his own voice, in contrast to how historians have viewed him.  This is the starting point of an interdisciplinary study with the historian, Dr. L. M. García y Griego, of the UNM History Department.

Balasch would like to see this representative sample of historic written Spanish from Territorial New Mexico transcribed and accessible online from the CSWR.  One of her main goals is fostering an appreciation of the linguistic richness and diversity of the Spanish language in the US, and the understanding of language change, both in contemporary Spanish and in its diachronic evolution.  Historians, linguists, and all interested in learning about the convulsive and complex history, society and language dynamics of New Mexico will benefit of her efforts. 











A third is Dr. David García, who is a New Mexico historian, ethnomusicologist and musician. The Center for Regional Studies (CRS) Scholar-in-Residence initiative at UNM sponsored his semester of work.  Dr. Gabriel Meléndez, the CRS Director, encourages scholars to research at CSWR who draw on evidence-based interpretations to improve our understanding of historical, contemporary and public policy issues in a regional context.  García received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017.  He is from Española, New Mexico.

At the CSWR, Dr. García is researching the local New Mexico Hispanic community traditional gathering practices and spaces of governance known as resolanas.  He worked with the Tomas Atencio and Academia de la Nueva Raza - Rio Grande Institute Records and early New Mexico digitized newspapers.  He is continuing to study how contemporary Chicano movements of the 1970s revived the resolana as a theoretical counterpoint to community disempowerment.

To expand on the documentary evidence, Dr. García has also accompanied CSWR archivist and historian, Samuel Sisneros, to an archeological dig on La Plaza de Los Genizaros in Belen, New Mexico. “This experience has greatly helped me put my hands in the soil to better think about the real space of 19th and 20th century plaza sites in New Mexico,” said García.  His residency was a special opportunity to share and exchange ideas with UNM students and faculty and prepare his research findings for publication.

The Center for Regional Studies also sponsored Dr. Daniel Webb's archival research at the CSWR.  He received his PhD in Pre-1900 History from the University of Chicago in June 2017.  His dissertation "Mapping the Apachería: American Indian Sovereignty and State Power in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 18th-19th Century" looks at the migration and territorial expansion of the Southern Athapaskans from the Great Plains and the Colorado Plateau into the Southwest, the emergence of distinct Apache (Ndé) tribal identities, and the various efforts of local authorities to restrict their mobility by placing them on reservations.  His second area of interest is the history of environmental engineering along the U.S.-Mexico border, the growth of commercial agriculture, systems of irrigation, and the political economy of water management.

While at the CSWR, Dr. Webb examined archival materials and rare books from the Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. periods to show how the Apache (Ndé) peoples became entangled in the conflicts over territory, citizenship, and racial identity that divided communities locally and internationally.  Drawing from a wide range of sources -including the Percy Bigmouth Collection, the American Indian Oral History Collection, the Spanish Archives of New Mexico, and the Archivo General de la Nación, México -his work demonstrated how Native American trading and raiding networks connected the population centers at Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque with distant settlements in the Great Plains and the Interior Provinces of New Spain during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  He applied his training in historical methods, manuscript analysis, and digital research tools to prepare a scholarly article, exchange ideas with local faculty and students interested in early New Mexico history, and revise his dissertation for publication. 

In September, October, November and December 2018 the Center for Southwest Research also had patrons from the various towns and Pueblos across New Mexico, fourteen states and the Netherlands.  Staff also worked on line with others across the globe.  You too can visit the Center for Southwest Research, start at



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