American Studies

Genaro Padilla Professor - English

Genaro Padilla recently published a study of a seventeenth-century Spanish colonial epic titled La Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610 (The Daring Flight of My Pen: Cultural Politics and La Historia de la Nueva Mexico, University of New Mexico Press) that provides a reading of a 12,000 line poem within a context that considers the problematics of contemporary cultural representations of the first encounter between Spain and indigenous people in what is now the state of New Mexico.

Padilla is currently studying early twentieth-century Anglo-American painters and writers who introduced a modernist aesthetic in Santa Fe and Taos that continued to objectify Mexican and Native people at the same time that these artists organized historical and arts societies to preserve traditional arts in the region. What he endeavors to understand is the contradiction between these advocates and practitioners of modernity and, once again, a regional cultural hegemony that literally made it impossible for Native and Mexican American artists and writers to engage modernism on their own terms.