Santa Fe Public Library

Women of the Santa Fe Trail, an online Zoom event with Irene Blea, Ph.D.

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Women of the Santa Fe Trail, an online Zoom event with Irene Blea, Ph.D.

March 17th, 2021  at 5 p.m. MT

Register to attend at:

Dr. Irene Blea reflects upon her own work to discuss the cultural diversity of 1800’s women on the Santa Fe Trail in New Mexico. Attention is given to indigenous, Spanish, Mexican, and American women interactions and attitudes towards one another. Emphasis is placed upon intermarriage, social relations, and how the influx of Americans impacted the cultural dynamic until this day.

Irene I. Blea, Professor Emeritus, Sociology & Chicana y Chicano Studies


Dr. Irene Blea is a New Mexico native with a Ph. D. in Sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is the author of 7 Chicano Studies textbooks also used in Sociology of race relations classes, over 30 articles, 4 poetry chapbooks, and 4 novels. Her most recent novel, Beneath the Super Moon has been received with great success and is the 3rd in her Suzanna trilogy. The first two books are titled Suzanna and Poor People’s Flowers. Daughters of the West Mesa based on the discovery of 11 women and an unborn fetus found buried west of Albuquerque was selected Best of Albuquerque in 2015 (ABQ the Magazine) and has been instrumental in keeping the unsolved serial killing in the public eye. Sales of the book continue to increase because of the nature of its subject, world interest in preventing sexual trafficking, and Blea’s ability to tell a story. She writes daily, maintains a strong online presence via a blog, Facebook, and is a featured speaker at conferences, universities, and annual meetings. Her work in progress is her autobiography, Erené with Wolf Medicine, in which she traces her family’s migration from the northern mountains of New Mexico to Colorado in the 1950s and results in her building a career in the study of race, class, and gender.

Dr. Blea is a New Mexico Humanities Council Scholar. She retired as a Tenured, Full Professor and Chairperson of Mexican American Studies at California State University-Los Angeles but also taught at the University of New Mexico- Albuquerque and Metropolitan State College-Denver. Her academic career has several notable accomplishments. One of which is that two of her textbooks, Toward a Chicano Social Science and La Chicana are “Classics” in her field (Prager & Greenwood Press). Blea was the first female Chairperson of the National Association of Chicano Studies, a Regional Representative to that organization from the states of Colorado and New Mexico, and is referred to as “the Xicana novelist of these times” (Beva Sanchez-Padilla, Southwest Organizing Project, and World March of Women Organizer).

You can visit Dr. Irene Blea and learn more about her on Facebook.


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library  and the Santa Fe New Mexican.

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