Levi Romero, research scholar, Chicano Hispano Mexico Studies, at the University of New Mexico, taught a course, "New Mexico Villages and Culture" this spring. The Digital Cuentos project is a compilation of audio visual narratives published by students in the course.

The primary focus of the assignment was to foster conversations between students and people in their lives whose knowledge, wisdom, and histories have been overshadowed by the student's emphasis on academic study, Romero wrote. Inspired by course readings in Miguel Montiel's book, Resolana: Emerging Chicano Dialogues On Community, students reclaimed personal histories through pláticas – conversations –with family elders and ordinary folk who lived remarkable lives. The written accounts were converted into digital stories that reflect the scope of creativity in Chicano Hispano Mexicano Studies.

"The interdisciplinary and documentary studies initiative in CHMS addresses contemporary issues and concerns of preservation and sustainability through the physical and cultural mapping of the human terrain. The digital cuentos may inspire viewers to reflect, document and engage in a plática with someone who is dying to tell his story," Romero wrote.

The Digital Cuentos project began as a midterm assignment in which students were to interview a family or community member in a resolana* style dialogue. The primary focus of the assignment was to foster conversations between students and people in their lives whose knowledge, wisdom and histories have been overshadowed by the students' emphasis on academic study.

"Inspired by course readings we proposed to reclaim personal histories through pláticas with family elders and plain ordinary folk who had lived remarkable lives. These written documentations were then transformed into digital stories that reflect our program's interdisciplinary and documentary studies initiative while addressing contemporary issues and concerns of preservation and sustainability through the physical and cultural mapping of the human terrain," Romero wrote.

He added, "We hope you will enjoy the digital cuentos and be inspired to reflect, document, and most importantly, engage in a plática with someone who is dying to tell you their story."

*Villagers in northern New Mexico refer to the south-facing side of a wall as la resolana, meaning "the place where the sun shines." Every culture has a resolana, a place where the resolaneros—the villagers—gather, dialogue, and reflect on society, culture, and politics. The buried knowledge that emerges from this process may be "pure gold," or el oro del barrio, a metaphor for the culturally contextualized knowledge gathered at the resolana. (from the book's synopsis)

Students in the course:
Adriana Baca
Alejandrina Padilla
Anna Cabrera
Crystal Quintana
Cynthia Killough
Denise Rincon
Jamie Hensley
Jordan Moore
Marcos Lujan
Marcus Lucero
Marron Cooney
Melissa Gallegos
Melissa Saenz
Mimi Maynard
Natalie Brigance
Olivia Romo
Pamela Lunderman
Pete Domenici
Philip Marlowe Johnson
Rachel August
Stephen Weinkauf
Susan Aranda


Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: cgonzal@unm.edu