La Frontera - The Border: An Interdisciplinary Examination
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

» LA FRONTERA - THE BORDER: An Interdisciplinary Examination

aerial view of US/Mexico borderBorders divide people, laws, and environments; across them flow people, legal and illegal goods, money, and more. During Fall 2019, Chapman University will embark on a campus-wide interrogation of border issues, particularly those surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border.

Drawing from the humanities, social sciences, journalism, law, and visual and performing arts, courses will examine borders through interdisciplinary perspectives. A number of public events will also encourage the campus and wider community to examine the controversial issues around borders. Throughout the semester you are invited to join a book club, tour the art galleries with a student Art Ambassador, attend lectures, and more.

This project will culminate in a conference from November 14th-16th that will bring leading scholars, artists, and journalists to Chapman University, and offer space for student presentations. By engaging in multi-disciplinary examination of this topic, we hope our community will come away better informed and prepared to be engaged global citizens.


Photo: Pablo López Luz, San Diego - Tijuana XI, Frontera USA – Mexico 2015, Pigment print


  • Art Exhibition | Escalette Collection of Art
  • Art Exhibition | Borderclick
  • Art Exhibition | Guggenheim Gallery
  • Art Installation | The Border Door Performance
  • Book Display | Leatherby Libraries
  • The Border: Selections from the Escalette Permanent Collection of Art

    May 2nd - November 17th, 2019
    Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room, Leatherby Libraries, Second Floor 

    Explore the poetic aerial landscapes of Mexican photographer Pablo López Luz; Spanish photographer Janire Najera’s conceptual triptych depicting a shimmering wall; photography by Tom Kiefer, a former custodian for the U.S. Border Patrol; and Hong Kong-born artist Bovey Lee’s papercut illustrating the experience of child migrants.

    purple light reconstruction of border wall
    Janire Najera, Traveling Light, 2018
  • Borderclick: Tijuana/San Diego 

    September 4th, 2019 - January 15th, 2020
    Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum, Second Floor 

    Borderclick Tijuana/San Diego is a photography exhibit by transborder individuals that aims to give lyrical visual representation to transfronterizx life. By capturing feelings, memories and experiences living between two cultures and nations—Mexico and the United States – these images bring an authentic and honest challenge to the common stereotypes of “border-crossers.”

    photo capturing movement of women's head so it appears that she has two heads
    Ale Uzarraga, Doble Identidad, 2016


  • La Frontera - The Border: Art Accross the Border

    August 26nd - November 17th, 2019
    Guggenheim Gallery, Moulton Center

    Hours: Monday- Friday, 12-5PM, Saturday, 11AM-4PM 

    Featured artists include Tanya Aguiniga, Natalia Anciso, Raul Baltazar, Los Anthropolocos: Richard A. Lou & Robert J. Sanchez, Nikki Darling, Luis G. Hernandez, Ingrid Leyva, Roy Martinez, and Omar Pimienta.

    This exhibition shows works by artists whose investigations are created around and influenced by the border and its effects. Employing multiple disciplines from painting and sculpture to video and performance the artists explore and document the wide implications of the physical border, which is at the same time informed by and feeding back into popular sentiment and psychological borders.

    close-up of bird feathers and a jewel-encrusted skull


    mixed media, 2019.


  • The Border Door Performance Installation

    August 26th - December 15th, 2019
    Entrance Hall, Beckman Hall, First Floor 

    The Border Door Performance, a photo documentary installation of Richard Lou's Border Door Performance from 1988 accompanied by an introductory video by Guisela Latorre.

    In 1988, the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo (BAW/TAF) invited Richard Lou to contribute to their annual show at El Centro  Cultural de la Raza, San Diego’s premier Chicana/o, Latina/o, and indigenous exhibition space. Rather than create a work for the specific site of El Centro, Lou looked to the border itself as the necessary location for this project. His installation consisted of a free-standing door hinged on a frame he literally placed on the border, just a few miles from the Tijuana International Airport. [...] Aside from providing a symbolic portal into a dignified existence in the United States, The Border Door also transformed the space of the border itself thus disrupting the desolate and inhospitable environment of the region. (From Border Consciousness and Artivist Aesthetics: Richard Lou's Performance and Multimedia Artwork by Guisela Latorre.)


    old stand-alone home doorway opening to empty desert

    Richard Lou, Border Door, 1988, performance,

    Documentary photograph by Jim Elliot


  • Display of books relating to The Border curated by student Hakeem Wakil ('21). On view on the first floor of the Leatherby Libraries until November, 18th. 

    library display with student

Events and Activities

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To learn more about the project, contact Associate Professor, Delp-Wilkinson Endowed Chair of Peace Studies, Dr. Lisa Leitz, or the Art Collections Department.


Nov. 5 | 7PM | Cloobeck Screening Room


Nov. 14 | 6PM | Liberty Plaza
Remembrance of Fall of Berlin Wall 

Nov. 14 | 7PM | All Faiths Chapel 

Nov. 15 | 8AM-6PM | BK 404

Nov. 15 | 6PM | Moulton Patio

Nov. 16 | 10:30AM-7PM | BK 404

For more information, see "Events and Activies"