Announcement: Literary Survey of Taos & Technical Writing

By: Bill Whaley
22 June, 2017

UNM Taos, English 150, Study of Literature,
Thursdays, 12—2:30: 16 Week Course, Aug. 24—Dec. 14, 2017 at Klauer campus.
Instructor, Bill Whaley

In English 150 students will focus on four major works concerned with the history of ideas and identity of the place and people of Taos, New Mexico, aka “the soul of the Southwest.” Lectures and discussion will consider four major works: Hampton Sides’ Blood and Thunder; R.C. Gordon-McCutchan’s The Taos Indians and the Battle for Blue Lake; Lois Rudnick’s Utopian Vistas; and Sylvia Rodriguez’s Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place.

Hampton Sides’ Blood and Thunder presents an exciting and well-written history of the American Conquest and features Taos as home to Kit Carson, the controversial symbol of and practical agent of Manifest Destiny. The reverberations of “Bloody Taos” can still be felt today in the archives of Southwest literary history.

Gordon-McCutchan’s epic tale of the Battle for Blue Lake is a political thriller, narrating how an indigenous Tribe from Taos set Washington D.C. on fire and changed the course of Native American rights. The Taos Pueblo legacy still smolders in the resistance today at Standing Rock. A former student from Taos Pueblo said in a prior course, after reading McCutchan’s book, “I’ve never been so proud of my people.” Richard Nixon becomes more human after listening to the Taos Pueblo leaders, who persuaded the President to do the right thing.

Rudnick’s Utopian Vistas follows the history of the Mabel Dodge Luhan house from its founding in the early 20th Century as a nexus of art and political influence to the anti-authoritarian era of Dennis Hopper era. In effect the Luhan house stands as symbol of how Taos is recognized for its cross-cultural importance.

In Rodriguez book about the Acequia culture, the author depicts the legacy of self-sufficient Hispanic engineering and irrigation, grounded in spirituality and the parciante culture. Acequia is a must read for those interested in understanding the practice and implementation of the Abeyta—Taos Pueblo Water Settlement and the notion that Aqua es Vida.

Whether just beginning the college experience or if interested in continuing education, both Natives and Newcomers will find this basic literary survey a way of making sense of Taos.

Phone UNM Taos student services and find out how to register at 737-6215.


Technical and Professional Writing, English 219, will be offered on Wednesdays from 12:00 to 2:30, a sixteen week course, August 23—Dec. 13, Fall 2017, instructor Bill Whaley.

Basically, the instructor will teach “the art of clarity” while creating resumes, CVs, letters of introduction and recommendation, business reports and reviews, as well as practical and professional collaborative summaries. Students will learn how to become “functional and literate professionals” as a way to further education, get a job, think more clearly, and succeed in today’s challenging work environments. The instructor believes anybody who wants to can learn to write clearly and well.

Books required:

Bryan R. Holloway’s Technical Writing Basics: A Guide to Style and Form, fourth edition

Joseph M. Williams’ s Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (any edition)

Phone UNM Taos student services and find out how to register at 737-6215.


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