AN101/AN243 Cultural Anthropology: Introduction to Cultural and Hispanic Folklore of the Southwest

The view from the mesa was spectacular. The deep and endless blue sky inspired me. I’m still amazed by how big and bright blue the sky is out here. Looking across the plains to the horizon, I felt alive. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live up here and soak in this beauty every day. Standing atop the Acoma Pueblo and looking out at the dazzling scene in front of me, I tried to imagine what it must have felt like to be the Spanish climbing up to the mesa to invade another culture so violently. The Spanish clearly thought they superior to the pueblos. The core value of their culture at the time was conquest and riches. They were too greedy and self-centered to see the beauty of the pueblos. They were too ethnocentric to realize what they could learn from these people.

Visiting the Acoma Pueblo and traveling along the Rio Grande with my class was an invaluable experience. I felt connected to the readings and history we had been studying in a whole new way. It’s one thing to read about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, but to actually stand atop the Acoma Pueblo where one of the key battles occurs provides an exciting new dimension.

Adjustment to the block plan was intimidating at first, but now I can’t imagine it any other way. My FYE class has been studying Hispanic Folklore and Cultural Anthropology in and out of the class room. The intensity of taking only one course at a time has allowed me to become totally absorbed in my studies and provided our class with the experience of taking a trip that brought our studies to life.

One of my favorite parts of my first class here at CC has been the intimacy of it all. There are only 16 of us in the class and now having spent almost two blocks together and spending 10 days on the road through southern colorado and New Mexico, it feels like a little family. We also have a personal relationship with our wonderful professor Mario Montano. It appears that second block is quickly coming to an end. Soon it will be time to say goodbye to the safety net of our FYE and throw ourselves into new classes. For now, I’m soaking up the last classes with this group, scrambling to pull together my final paper, and reflecting on two blocks well spent.