A Hispano Still-Life: Narrative Self-Fashioning and Home in Northern New Mexico

Kirstin C. Erickson (University of Arkansas)

In her 2011 AFS Presidential address, Elaine Lawless proposed to “rethink folklore as a kind of reconstituting enterprise.” Just as a mosaic creates unity from the shattered, Lawless argues that remembered traditions, pregnant with affect, offer a counternarrative to confront “home’s” ambivalences. This paper examines New Mexican women’s fraught, richly referential life-stories. Hispana interlocutors craft mosaics of home they can reclaim, engaging in what Meyer calls “narrative commensality,” enjoining others to partake and embellish memories of childhood hardship and love. Unreservedly sensory “still lifes” of home amplify Hispano traditions, highlighting the centrality of the vernacular toolkit in norteña narrative self-fashioning.

Part of 36-04 Nostalgia, Memory, and the Everyday Arts, Wednesday, October 20, 5:15 pm–6:45 pm