The authors of the UNM explore the concept of “querencia” in a new book: UNM Newsroom
The basic definition of the Spanish word querencia is a metaphysical concept taken from verb interrogator, which means “to want” or “to love”. But the reality of querencia is more complicated, more poetic and sentimental, rooted in deep emotions and culture and a sense of nostalgia and belonging to a place where the heart resides.
Querencia: Reflections on the Homeland of New Mexico, edited by UNM alumni Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, Spencer R. Herrera and UNM professor Levi Romero, was published in 2020 and has been edited by The Western Historical Quarterly in June by Joseph Ukockis, doctoral student in history at the UNM Center for the Southwest.
“My co-authors and I wanted to celebrate New Mexico. So we decided to explore the idea of querencia“Herrera explained.” There has already been a lot of writing on the idea by well-established authors, but from previous generations, whom we deeply respect and admire. But we decided to seek new ideas and perspectives from early and mid-career researchers We wanted to understand what New Mexican querencias means today. But we wanted to anchor these ideas in the scholarship produced by those who taught us, whether directly in class or indirectly through their words, and in doing so honor them.
The book contains 17 essays by 20 contributors, many of whom have links with UNM, on their experiences with querencia.
Herrera, now associate professor of Spanish at New Mexico State University, has completed his doctorate. in Spanish with a minor in cinema at UNM. He recently completed a stay as a visiting scholar at the UNM Center for Regional Studies. As a visiting scholar, he took a trip along the Río Grande to collect stories about the people and the land along the way and visited the childhood homes of esteemed UNM professor Rudolfo Anaya, died in 2020, to better understand and write a file. about his life and his legacy.
Fonseca-Chávez received her BA in Spanish and MA in Southwestern Hispanic Studies from UNM, where she was a visiting scholar at the Center for Regional Studies in 2019. Her PhD. is in Spanish Cultural Studies, majoring in Chicano Literature from Arizona State University, where she is now Assistant Professor of English.
Romero wrote a book, Sagrado: a photopoetic through the Chicano homeland, which was co-written with Herrera. His books have received numerous awards and he received the post of New Mexico Centennial Poet Laureate in 2012. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UNM.
“Querencia, which expresses a deep love for its homeland and its people, has been highly regarded for its careful examination of the homeland of New Mexico by Hispanic and Native scholars. The book has received several positive reviews with more to come. It also generated several interviews and interviews with author-editors and other contributing authors. Creating a book of this magnitude with 20 contributors is a major undertaking that took five years from concept to print, ”said Herrera. He is also the author of a chapter entitled New Mexico Triptych: Querencia engraved in wood, in the media and in our memory, which critically examines the importance of maintaining culture in today’s society.
Anaya, who was Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing in the English Department at UNM, wrote the foreword. In the foreword, the Western Historical Quarterly examination noted, the late Anaya “discusses his time spent with inmates nuvomexicans, emphasizing the importance of books for a population rendered without place and invisible.
“We are honored that Rudolfo Anaya, considered the ‘godfather of Chicano literature’ and author of more than 40 books, including Bless me, ltima, wrote the preface to Querencia, his last article published before his death, ”said Herrera.
Other contributors with links to UNM include:
Kevin brown, a member of the Navajo Nation, joined UNM University Libraries in 2016 as the Administrator of the Indigenous Nations Library Program. He holds an MA from UNM in Public Archeology and is currently working on his MBA in Educational Leadership at UNM. He is also an artist and photographer.
Myrriah Gomez graduated from UNM. She got her doctorate. from the University of Texas at San Antonio in English with a specialization in Latin American literature and theory. His next book, Nuclear Nuevo México: Identity, ethnicity and resistance in atomic third-spaces, examines the effects of the nuclear industrial complex on Nuevomexicanos. She is an Assistant Professor at UNM Honors College.
Moises Gonzales is co-editor of the book, Nación Genízara: ethnogenesis, place and identity in New Mexico with Enrique Lamadrid which will be published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2019. He is Associate Professor of Urban Design in Community and Regional Planning at the School of Architecture and Planning at UNM.
Lillian Gorman was in the first class of McNair Fellows at UNM where she received a BA in Spanish and an MA in Southwestern Hispanic Studies. His doctorate is from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Hispanic Studies with concentrations in Latin American Cultural and Sociolinguistic Studies. She is the Program Director of Spanish as a Heritage Language and Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona.
Bernadine Hernandez received her bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish and her master’s degree in English-language literatures from UNM. Her doctorate is in English Literatures and Cultural Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of New Mexico and a Research Professor at the Institute of American Cultures at the University of California at Los Angeles, where she is completing the manuscript of her book titled (In) visible Bodies of a New Nation: Civility, Gender and Sexual Economies in the Archives of the Border Regions of the 19th Century.
Irene Vásquez specializes in the intersectional stories and politics of Mexican-born populations in the Americas. She co-wrote Making Aztlan: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement: Ideology, 1966-1977, published by the University of New Mexico Press. She is the founding chair of the chicana and chicano studies department at UNM and director of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. Under his leadership, from 2013 to 2018, UNM established a department of chicana and chicano studies, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. program in chicana and chicano studies.
Karen R. Roybal received her BA in Journalism and Mass Communication and her PhD. in American Studies (with a specialization in Southwestern Studies) from UNM. She is an Assistant Professor of Southwestern Studies at Colorado College.
Corrine Kaa Pedi Povi Sanchez received her Masters in American Studies with a Minor in Health Education from UNM and completed her PhD. in Justice Studies at Arizona State University. She is the Executive Director of Tewa Women United.
Simón Ventura Trujillo obtained his BA in English and Philosophy from UNM and his PhD. in English Language and Literature at the University of Washington. He is an Assistant Professor of Latinx Studies in the English Department at New York University.
Norma A. Valenzuela obtained an AA in Business Technology and a BUS with a specialization in Spanish and bilingual education at UNM. His masters and his doctorate. in Spanish Cultural Studies, with an emphasis on Chicano / Latin and Latin American Cultural Studies, are from Arizona State University. She is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of the Highlands of New Mexico.
Querencia: Reflections on the Homeland of New Mexico is available from The University of New Mexico Press.