La Canoa: Legacy Talks: The Myth of Tri-Cultural Harmony: Ethnic/Sexual Personas in the Tri-Cultural Land of Enchantment
Join us for an examination of New Mexico’s public ideology of tri-culturalism, which holds that the state consists of three separate ethnic groups living together in harmony.
Chris Wilson, Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning will discuss the myth, developed in the 1880s as part of the campaign to make New Mexico a state, and crystalized in the early 20th century with the rise of mass tourism. The primary visual expression of this rhetoric—found in both public art and tourism promotional literature—is a set of ethnic personas. Occupying the middle ground between racial stereotypes and mythic archetypes, these popular cultural types—like the iconography of the saints before them—are recognizable through attributes of costume, arts and crafts, skin color and facial type, tools and modes of transportation. When linked to assumptions about technological progress, occupational status and, above all, gender roles, these images also encapsulate and endorse a particular vision of social hierarchy.
This is a free public event