Genaro M. Padilla

Genaro M. Padilla

Professor and Chair
B38 Hearst Field Annex
By appointment
gpadilla@berkeley.edu


Specialties

Books

Title Fields
The Daring Flight of My Pen: Cultural Politics and Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610 The Daring Flight of My Pen: Cultural Politics and Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610
Doomed from the beginning to be read as history rather than poetry, Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico chronicles Captain Juan de Onate's conquest of New Mexico from its inception in 1595 to the battle of Acoma in 1599. Its publication in 1610 was overshadowed by Cervantes's already wildly popular Don Quixote, and fewer than a dozen copies of the original have survived the las....

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

The Daring Flight of My Pen: Cultural Politics and Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico. 2010

Nuevomexicano Cultural Legacy: Forms, Agencies and Discourse, ed. (with Francisco Lomeli and Vicotor Sorrell)  2002

My History, Not Yours: The Formation of Mexican American Autobiography, 1993

Recoverying the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, ed. (with Ramon Gutierrez), 1993

Power, Race, and Gender in Academe: Strangers in the Tower? (contributing editor with Shirley Geok-Lin Lim and Maria Herrera-Sobek), 1999.

The Short Stories of Fray Angelico Chavez, editor and Introduction, 1987. 



Current Research

I recently published a study of a 17th century Spanish colonial epic titled La Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610 (The Daring Flight of My Pen: Cultural Politics and La Historia de la Nueva Mexico, University of New Mexico Press) that provides a reading of a12,000 line poem within a context that considers the problematics of contemporary cultural representations of the first encounter between Spain and indigenous people in what is now the state of New Mexico.

Doomed from the beginning to be read as history rather than poetry, Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá's Historia de la Nueva México chronicles Juan de Oñate's conquest of New Mexico from its inception in 1595 to the battle of Acoma in 1599. Its publication in 1610 was overshadowed by Cervantes's already wildly popular Don Quixote, and fewer than a dozen copies of the original have survived the last four centuries. In April of 1610, the same month that Villagrá's Historia was published in Spain, the once powerful Oñate, the last conquistador and one who remains a divisive figure among native groups and Hispanics to this day, rode into Mexico City, humiliated, having been banished from la Nueva México.

I argue that Villagrá's epic poem of the Oñate expedition reveals that the soldier was no mere chronicler but rather that his writing offers a subtle critique of the empire whose expansion he seems to be celebrating. A close reading of the rhetorical subtleties in the poem, I argue, reveals that Villagrá surreptitiously parodies the King and Viceroy for their failures of vision and effectively dismantles Oñate as the iconic figure he has become today. While I offer a close reading of this Villagrá 's epic, I am equally interested in engaging the residual presence of Villagrá himself as a cultural icon in "Hispanic" New Mexico.  Through an assessment of an early Spanish colonial poem, I  offer commentary on our troubled modern engagement with cultural celebrations of Spanish empire today in the face New Mexico's complicated multicultural legacies.

 

  I now turn to a study early 20th century Anglo-American painters and writers who introduced a modernist aesthetic in Santa Fe and Taos that continued to objectify Mexican and Native people at the same time that these artists organized historical and arts societies to preserve traditional arts in the region. What I am trying to understand is the contradiction between these advocates and practicioners of modernity and, once again, a regional cultural hegemony that literally made it impossible for Native and Mexican American artists and writers to engage modernism on their own terms.



Recent English Courses Taught