Contingent Colonialities: Mapping La Relación de Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

Anita Huízar-Hernández, Angela Corsa, Alejandra Encinas García, Carmen Lucia Rivero, Ashley Ávila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work-in-progress report presents the bilingual mapping project "Decolonizing The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca/Descolonizar La Relación de Cabeza de Vaca," an interdisciplinary undergraduate, graduate, and faculty digital humanities collaboration that aims to educate users about the impacts of Spanish colonization and its ramifications on the creation and evolution of latinidades in the Americas by recovering the history of that colonization within Latin America as well as what became the United States; analyzing how and by whom that history has been narrated, and considering what impact those narratives have on society today. Written in Spanish, La Relación precedes English-language accounts that describe what is now the United States, thus providing necessary historical context for the centuries-long development of transborder latinidades throughout the hemisphere. At the same time, the fact that La Relación was not written in English does not mean the text is not Eurocentric. On the contrary, fully apprehending La Relación and its impact requires a decolonial approach that decenters Cabeza de Vaca and his limited perspective. By visualizing this Spanish colonial narrative, this project provides not just a window into what became the pre-Anglophone Southern and Southwestern United States, but also brings into sharp relief the complexities of the overlapping colonialities these lands have experienced, as well as the way the interplay among those colonialities has shaped U.S. Latinx communities and their relationship to hemispheric latinidades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-132
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Information, Diversity and Inclusion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • coloniality
  • decolonizing methodology
  • digital humanities
  • mapping
  • Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Library and Information Sciences


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