dissertation

Red or Green?: New Mexican Food Politics from Statehood to Climate Crisis

SouthWest Organizing Project’s archival material

NMSU Agricultural Extension Service, 1960

How food is cultivated, circulated, and consumed reveals how the layered histories of colonialism impact food systems and social movements. In New Mexico, a state with multiple colonialisms, food is a distinct lens for exploring state policy, histories of the Chicana/o/x movement in the U.S., racial inequities in access to natural resources, and social movements. “Red or Green?: New Mexican Food Politics from Statehood to Climate Crisis uses institutional, organizational, and personal archives, literary material, and firsthand collected oral histories, to understand food as a site of political struggle and community mobilization. Through a Chicana feminist theoretical framework, I theorize food as a political tool used by state institutions to reproduce exclusionary national identities. I also trace examples of Chicanx food activism that names and resists colonial oppression, to better understand food as a political tool. I review distinct examples of food politics in New Mexico’s history, from 1930s home economists and 1960s Chicano organizers to 21st-century global grassroots gardeners. My dissertation contributes to New Mexico history into the 21st century, studies on contemporary impacts of colonialism, the study of food activism, and charts new directions for Latinx studies and the nascent field of critical food studies.

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