Situational Identities along the Raiding Frontier of Colonial New Mexico
by Jun U. Sunseri
from the University of Nebraska's Historical Archaeology of the American West series
3 photogrpahs, 39 graphs, 5 maps, 16 illustrations, 4 tables, index
Situational Identities along the Raiding Frontier of Colonial New Mexico examines pluralistic communities that navigated between colonial and indigenous practices to negotiate strategic alliances with both sides of generations-old conflicts. The rich history of the southwestern community of Casitas Viejas straddles multiple cultures and identities and is representative of multiple settlements in the region of northern New Mexico that served as a “buffer,” protecting the larger towns of New Spain from Apache, Navajo, Ute, and Comanche raiders. These Genízaro settlements of Indo-Hispano settlers used shrewd cross-cultural skills to survive.
Researching the dynamics of these communities has long been difficult, due in large part to the lack of material records. In this innovative case study, Jun U. Sunseri examines persistent cultural practices among families who lived at Casitas Viejas and explores the complex identities of the region’s communities. Applying theoretical and methodological approaches, Sunseri adds oral histories, performative traditions of contemporary inhabitants, culinary practices, and local culture to traditional archaeology to shed light on the historical identities of these communities that bridged two worlds.
About the Author
Jun U. Sunseri is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.