Recognizing Heritage


Recognizing Heritage

The Politics of Multiculturalism in New Mexico

Thomas H. Guthrie

336 pages
26 photographs, 2 drawings, 1 map, 1 appendix


December 2013


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eBook (EPUB)
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November 2021


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December 2013


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2013


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In 2006 Congress established the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area to recognize the four-hundred-year “coexistence” of Spanish and Indian peoples in New Mexico and their place in the United States. National heritage areas enable local communities to partner with the federal government to promote historic preservation, cultural conservation, and economic development. Recognizing Heritage explores the social, political, and historical context of this and other public efforts to interpret and preserve Native American and Hispanic heritage in northern New Mexico.
The federal government’s recognition of New Mexico’s cultural distinctiveness contrasts sharply with its earlier efforts to wipe out Indian and Hispanic cultures. Yet even celebrations of cultural difference can reinforce colonial hierarchies. Multiculturalism and colonialism have overlapped in New Mexico since the nineteenth century, when Anglo-American colonists began promoting the region’s unique cultures and exotic images to tourists. Thomas H. Guthrie analyzes the relationship between heritage preservation and ongoing struggles over land, water, and identity resulting from American colonization. He uses four sites within the heritage area to illustrate the unintentional colonial effects of multiculturalism: a history and anthropology museum, an Indian art market, a “tricultural” commemorative plaza, and a mountain village famous for its adobe architecture. Recognizing Heritage critiques the politics of recognition and suggests steps toward a more just multiculturalism that fundamentally challenges colonial inequalities.

Author Bio

Thomas H. Guthrie is an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Guilford College. His articles have appeared in International Journal of Heritage Studies, CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship, and Ethnohistory.


"[Recognizing Heritage] opens the way for a frank discussion of multiculturalism in New Mexico and Latino American heritage as a part of our national story."—Joseph Sanchez, New Mexico Historical Review

“Anyone interested in the history, cultures, and contemporary challenges of the Southwest, in the spatialization of historic and anthropological studies, or in historic preservation and heritage tourism will want to read and absorb Guthrie’s fresh, illuminating perspective.”—Chris Wilson, J. B. Jackson Chair of Cultural Landscape Studies, University of New Mexico, and author of The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition


“Guthrie’s fascinating and rigorously researched Recognizing Heritage confronts both the damning details and liberating potential of multiculturalism in New Mexico and the United States. . . . This ethnography challenges anthropologists, policy makers, cultural producers, museum professionals, and the public to question the assumptions that drive our global culture industry.”—Michael L. Trujillo, author of The Land of Disenchantment: Latina/o Identities and Transformations in Northern New Mexico

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
A Note on Terminology
1. Constructing History at the Palace of the Governors
2. Authenticity under the Palace Portal
3. Heritage and Recognition in the Española Valley
4. The Politics of Preservation in Las Trampas
5. Anthropology, Heritage, and Multicultural Justice
Epilogue: Danza de los Antepasados
Appendix: Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area Act

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