Gentefication: A spatial rhetorical analysis of differential landscapes in northern New Mexican literature and social space




Trujillo, Patricia Marina

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Rhetoric enables us to understand the "space" of imagined literature and social space. But how does rhetorical positionality represent differentiated access to spatial commodities and how are those commodities consumed? My dissertation articulates the disparities of dominant rhetoric in New Mexico, while also recovering and interrogating historical and cultural rhetorics of Northern New Mexican communities by employing a theoretical framework informed by cultural geography, consumption studies, literary, and rhetorical theory. Using Gloria Anzaldúa's concept of the "geography of selves," Chela Sandoval's "differential consciousness model," and Emma Pérez's "decolonial imaginary," I articulate a need for a rhetorical intervention in the historic and contemporary configurations of space in New Mexico literature and culture. I introduce the neologism Gentefication as a theoretical position that signals a shift in the rhetorical agency of ethnic New Mexicans from victims trapped in space, to New Mexicans as consumers and producers of imagined and actual oppositional spaces.

My dissertation chapters include a history of the rhetorical shift between late territorial and early statehood New Mexico through a discussion of the writer and attorney, Amado Chaves (1851-1930); nostalgia in the writings of Jim Sagel in the literary mappings of New Mexico; globalized Nuevomexicana identity and the politics of consumption in the new genre of "Chica Lit" through a comparative reading of Alisa Rodriguez-Valdes' Dirty Girls Social Club and Demetria Martínez's Mother Tongue; and the "Imagineering" of northern New Mexico historical space through corporate curriculums centered around the American Girl doll, Josefina Montoya (1824). Each chapter includes a pedagogical section entitled "Classroom and Community Connections," which provide assessment tools to link the chapter content learning spaces.

By viewing northern New Mexico through the multiple and simultaneous lenses of Chicana/o space that are continuous, discontinuous, and emerging, the perspective of differentiated access to space is a way to articulate the potentiality of resistance and empowerment as well as the myriad contradictions that come with multiple subjectivities. I conclude with an epilogue about the contestatory spatial rhetorics of a newly developing plaza in Española, NM, and a discussion of writing subjectivities in regards to Española as a space represented in the media as a "heroin industrial complex," I submit that gentefication is a set of counterhegemonic spatial rhetorical practices that create new spaces for New Mexicans to re-imagine contemporary traditions and identities that tell differentiated stories.


This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff. To download, navigate to Log In in the top right-hand corner of this screen, then select Log in with my UTSA ID.


differential, gentefication, literary gentrification, New Mexico literature, rhetoric, space