Sumptuous and Beautiful, As They Were: Architectural Form, Everyday Life, and Cultural Encounter in a Seventeenth-Century New Mexico Mission


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art Department


This dissertation explores the material expressions of intercultural exchange in seventeenth-century New Mexico, focusing on the Purísima Concepción mission of Hawikuh Pueblo as a case study of architectural meaning in everyday life of the colonial American southwest. The Purísima Concepción was an arena of cultural encounter in which architecture and material culture accommodated interactions between the Franciscan missionaries and pueblo residents. This research project incorporates a detailed analysis of Hawikuh’s unpublished mission artifacts, a contextualization of the architectural form of the mission itself, and a critical rereading of primary documents to support an interpretation of the underlying metaphors that took material form as the Purísima Concepción mission.