Contact: Sylvia Rodriguez 277-4524 or
Carolyn Gonzales 277-5920

July 10, 2001


Rodriguez discusses "enchantment" with Jim McConnell.As Albuquerque gears up for the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Route 66 and the throngs of visitors the state hopes to receive, University of New Mexico Anthropologist Sylvia Rodriguez looks at tourism from another perspective.

Rodriguez presents, "Tourism and Power in the Land of Enchantment," a community seminar, on Wednesday, July 11 at 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church located on Carlisle and Comanche NE.

The seminar is the eighth in a series of Institute for Public Life seminars on politics, history and culture of New Mexico presented by Albuquerque Interfaith and the New Mexico Organizing Project and co-sponsored by the UNM Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies.

Rodriguez will address the focus question: What are the causes and consequences of enchantment? After she presents the topic, the audience will break into small discussion groups.

"We will be talking about the cultural and social impact of tourism in New Mexico. We'll talk about industry, tourism's impact on race relations, and, basically the causes and consequences of 'enchantment,' the tag tourism put on New Mexico," she says.

Rodriguez says that as an anthropologist, she studies how being a tourist attraction, or "ethnic, exotic other" affects the state's Native American and Hispanic people. "How does the idealized version of Native Americans and Hispanics differ from the reality? The reality is that there are many poor New Mexicans in isolation living in trailers. The tourism industry took a third world place and mystified it as the 'Land of Enchantment' and it stuck, but there is a disconnect between that and the reality," she says. Rodriguez adds that the idealized version makes social and political change difficult because people want to hold on to the idealized version.

The Institute for Public Life series is presented to help community leaders become effective organizers by becoming educated and informed citizens.

The seminar is free and open to the public.

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