Interdisciplinary Focus

Bridging Disciplines and Theoretical Frameworks

We will garner new insights across the scholarly spectrum because this interdisciplinary Annales School investigation aims to understand the “whole” by employing our specialties. While the overarching Annalist approach is historical, it is flexible and interdisciplinary; as H. R. Trevor-Roper states, “[the Annales School] crosses all frontiers and uses all techniques…to recreate the totality of a society, past or present, to understand its delicate mechanism and yet to see it, not as a machine, but as a living organism.” Thus, we draw in many intellectual approaches. For example, Prof. Feliu-Moggi’s cultural theory enhances our work because it subscribes to the idea that cultural texts (which range from written and oral histories, to artistic representations and artifacts) allow us to read into the philosophies that shape and transform societies. Cultural texts facilitate knowledge about social dynamics over time and also at specific moments. Prof. Gould, our poet with Native American roots, will provoke us to travel and witness—looking, viewing, hoping to see in the way Dorothea Lange phrased it when she asked, “But do you really see?” Prof. Larkin promotes our understanding as “cultural geographers”. His approach is to question the nature of human and environmental interactions. He aims to understand “cultural expressions of place”. Prof. MacAulay, as an ethnographer, brings the investigative mode of a participant observer. She will examine concepts such as “sense(s) of place” and how the human senses impact local material culture. This is most prominent in ethno-aesthetics (the study of “native” criteria or standards used by the artists to critique their art). Prof. Church works with archaeology and every-day material culture, embodied experience of landscape, and cultural memory, as well as museum studies in borderlands. Prof. Rigler carries forward the multi‐disciplinary approach of Deep Listening, a practice that stimulates inclusive ways to perceive multisensorial listening experiences. For example, we will integrate sound artist and composer Raven Chacon, a member of the Navajo Nation, in our efforts to experience Deep Listening. Prof. Martinez employs his archival expertise and the digital humanities — blending technology, history, and religion — to understand the lives of religious minorities in Spain and New Mexico (Hispano crypto-Jews).

Collectively, our holistic approach will explore these thematic and VR/AR questions:

  • In which circumstances did Indian and Spanish worldviews harmonize, fracture, commingle, and compete? In what ways did Indian versus Spanish colonial discourses shape and structure everyday life?
  • How can VR/AR, geo-visualization, and cartography express divergent narratives and histories?
  • What is the phenomenological (or embodied) experience of landscape in southern Colorado? Do VR/AR enhance, mimic, or minimize this experience and why is this the case?
  • Why and how did colonization (and Indian counter-colonization) affect the cultural practices, production, and trade of the resident peoples? How can these divergent impacts be represented in VR/AR worlds?
  • What elements of Indian tradition (folk, music, religion) were incorporated into colonial culture? Can VR/AR be employed to distinguish customs that were exchanged vs. adapted to Spanish hegemonic culture?
  • How did Indian and Spanish populations perceive and explain rebellion (the Pueblo Revolt, etc.) and the reassertion of Spanish power (the Reconquista)? Do VR/AR offer novel ways of communicating these ideas?
  • Why and how did Hispanos use material culture, for example colcha embroideries, to differentiate their values and aesthetics from Indian ones? Can VR/AR generate opportunities to express these distinctions?
  • How did 19th and 20th-century perspectives frame our view of the past? For example, how were Indian and Hispano cultures photographed by outsiders? Will VR/AR be an outside or hybridized reflection of the past?