American Studies ETDs

Publication Date



This dissertation provides a contemporary study of the memorialization and ritual practices that serve as historical markers of community cultural mapping along the region of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The dissertation features two explicit case studies involving separate tragic stories of death of two women prior to consummating their marriage and the memorialization that intersects their cultural identities from distinct communities--one from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, who died in 1930, and the other from El Rito, New Mexico who died in 1997. By juxtaposing their stories I sought to interconnect the lives and experiences of Chicana/o, Hispana/o, and Mexicana/o people using the Camino Real to situate ritual and traditional practices as evident of an ongoing relationship with a historical connection of the peoples in Mexico and New Mexico. As a study that advances further exploration into cultural memory production today differing forms of memorialization are included that represent personal self-expression and the use of popularized cultural and artistic images produced by contemporary Chicana/os, Hispana/os, and Mexicana/os. The survivors embrace memorialization as a cultural survival mechanism in which these narratives and cultural practices are sometimes the only means for culturally identifying peoples who have been separated in modern times by a political border. This is a study intended to open conversation on a broader, more complex analysis that will ultimately offer a critical understanding of Chicana/o, Hispana/o, and Mexicana/o culture today.

Project Sponsors

Center for Regional Studies, Dissertation Fellowship, University Of New Mexico. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dissertation Fellowship, University of New Mexico.




Camino Real de Tierra Adentro

Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Laura E. Gómez

Second Committee Member

Beverly R. Singer

Third Committee Member

Alyosha Goldstein

Fourth Committee Member

Carlos B. Ramírez

Fifth Committee Member

Bárbara O. Reyes