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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May 2nd | 11:00AM-2:00PM - Soft Opening of "La Frontera-The Border: Selections from the Escalette Permanent Collection of Art" with talk by artist Bovey Lee. Center for American War Letters, Leatherby Libraries.


September 4th | 5:00-7:00PM - Escalette Permanent Collection of Art and Guggenheim Gallery Exhibitions Opening Celebration. Moulton Patio.

September 11th | 7:00-8:00PM - “A Photographer in the World: Harry Mattison on Borders.” Courtesy of Creative Writing and the Presidential Fellowship of Carolyn Forché. Argyros Forum, Room 201. 

September 17th | 7:00-9:00PM - Screening of 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition "Weapons of Spirit" followed by discussion with filmmaker Pierre Sauvage and Dr. Lisa Leitz. Courtesy of the Barry and Phyllis Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education. Memorial Hall Auditorium. 

September 19th | 11:30AM-1:30PM - International Day of Peace/Social Justice BBQ with Scholar-Artist-Activists from the Borderclick Project courtesy of the Peace Studies Department, College of Educational Studies, Civic Engagement Initiatives, and University Program Board. Wallace All-Faiths Chapel and Fish Interfaith Courtyard.  

September 19th | 4:00-6:00PM - "Documenting the Border," a panel discussion with journalists - Joe Matthews (Zócalo Public Square), Gustavo Arellano (Los Angeles Times), A.C. Thompson (ProPublica), and Dr. Maytha Alhassen (Chapman University Peace Studies Department) - concerning the media coverage of the US/Mexico Border. Beckman Hall, Room 404. 

September 24th | 7:00-9:00PM - "Words of Memory and Hope: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust" with Alexandra Zapruder and Holocaust survivor, Peter Feigl. Courtesy of the Barry and Phyllis Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education. Memorial Hall Auditorium.  

September 25th | 7:00-8:00PM - "Richard Lou's 'Border Door': Artivist Aesthetics and Decolonial Engagements," a lecture by Dr. Guisela Latorre of Ohio State University. Argyros Forum, The Charles and Nora Hester Faculty Senate Boardroom in Room 201.

September 28th | 9:00AM-2:30PM - Undocumented Students Conference. Courtesy of Cross-Cultural Engagement. Argyros Forum, Room 209.


October 3rd | 5:00-7:00PM - “Bringing Down the Berlin Wall through the Arts” screening, lecture, and discussion by Liz Curtis (Department of Dance) and Dr. Marc Voss (Chapman University Departments of Sociology and World Languages & Cultures). Argyros Forum, Room 209C.

October 8th | 7:00PM - (reception preceding at 6:00PM) Screening of The Infiltrators and discussion with the filmmakers Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra. Digital Media Arts Center Theatre. 

October 10th | 4:00PM - "Fandangos, Borders, Guacamayas and Resistance: Documenting the Daily Accords of Our Communities." Dr Rodriguez, College of Educational Studies, will present information and music from Fandango Fronterizo, an annual event where musicians from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border play music and share experiences. Cross Cultural Center, Argyros Forum, Third Floor.   

October 17th | 7:00PM - "Documenting Clandestine Movement: A Conversation on the Ethics of Photoethnography along the Undocumented Migration Trail." Featuring MacArthur Fellow Dr. Jason De León (Department of Anthropology and Chicana/o Studies, UCLA) and Michael Wells (Photographer), and Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa (Department of Sociology, Chapman University). Folino Theater, Marion Knott Studios, Dodge College of Film & Media Arts. 

October 21st | 2:30PM - "The Borders of Identity: Persona in Poetry" with Vandana Khanna. Courtesy of Tabula Poetica. Wallace All-Faiths Chapel, Fish Interfaith Center.  

October 24th | 4:00PM - "Liberating Stories of Resistance along the US/Mexico Border" with Dr. Michelle Téllez, Assistant Professor of Mexican American Studies at University of Arizona. Argyros Forum, Room 209B.

October 31st | 12:00-1:30PM - Chapman Community Book Club - The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border. Space is limited; to RSVP, please email Rachel Karas. Leatherby Libraries, Center for American War Letters. 

November | Border Conference

November 4th | 2:30PM - "Unbordered: Breaking Down the Poetic Imagefeaturing the work of Shauna Barbosa. Courtesy of Tabula Poetica. Wallace All-Faiths Chapel, Fish Interfaith Center.

November 5th | 7:00-9:00PM -  Screening and discussion of Khaled Jarrar's film, Infiltrators, and the walls separating Palestinians and Israelis. Courtesy of the MA Program in International Studies. Cloobeck Screening Room, Digital Media Arts Center.

Border Conference: November 14th-16th



Thursday, November 14th | Keynote Presentation

6:00PM - Remembrance of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Liberty Plaza between Demille and Wilkinson Halls 

7:00PM - Keynote Presentation by Francisco Cantú, former border patrol agent whose memoir, A Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, won the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Award. 

Friday, November 15th | Border Conference

Faculty and Visiting Scholars

8:00AM - 6:00PM - Main Conference, Beckman Hall Room 404

Guest Speakers:
  • José Ángel N., author of Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant, 2014
  • James Frederick, leading freelance multimedia journalist on the border, based in Mexico City, regularly featured on NPR
  • Dr. Carolina Prado, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at San José State University
  • Dr. Stephen Nuño, Chair of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University and contributor to NBC Latino
  • Ronald Rael, Chair of Architecture at UC Berkeley and creator of "the border seesaw."
  • Dr. Karina V. Korostelina, Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University 
Artist Panel Speakers:
  • Tanya Aguiniga - LA-based artist and member of the Border Arts Workshop
  • Luis G. Hernandez - Artist, curator, and founder of the MexiCali Biennial
  • Tom Kiefer - Photographer and former U.S. Border Patrol custodian 
  • Bovey Lee - Hong Kong-born papercut artist whose work explores the effects of migration 
  • Richard Lou - Installation artist, known for his "Border Door Performance" in 1988
Chapman Faculty:


6:00-7:00PM - Closing Reception and Catalogue Release Party, Moulton Patio 

7:00-9:00PM - Short Film Screenings featuring Pricilla Gonzalez and James Frederick, Argyros Forum Room 209A

Saturday, November 16th | Border Conference

Student Poster, Oral, Art, & Film Presentations


Student Conference Schedule
Poster & Art Presentations


Oral Presentations


10:30AM - 12:00PM Poster Presentation | BK 404

Session 1 | BK 213

Session 2 | BK 214

12:00PM - 1:30PM Lunch | Attallah Piazza Lunch | Attallah Piazza
1:30PM - 3:00PM Art Presentation | BK 404

Session 3 | BK 213

Session 4 | BK 214

3:30PM - 7:00PM Film Screenings | TBD Film Screenings | TBD


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Committee Members

Project Developers and Central Committee Members:


Additional Committee Members:

  • Marcus Herse, Guggenheim Gallery Director
  • Dr. Amy Buono, Assistant Professor of Art History 
  • Jessica Bocinski, Registrar of Art Collections
  • Dr. Rafael Luévano, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
  • Claire Treu, Peace Studies Student Assistant 
  • Laura Silva, Wilkinson College Web, Media, & Publicity Coordinator
  • Dr. Ruben Espinoza, Assistant Professor of Sociology  
  • Dr. Sandra Alvarez, Assistant Professor of Political Science 
  • Dr. Georgiana Bostean, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Health and Policy 

Special Thanks

Special thanks to our funders: 

  • Art Collections Department 
  • Center for Undergraduate Excellence 
  • Delp-Wilkinson Endowment & Speaker Series in Peace Studies 
  • Fish Interfaith Center 
  • Guggenheim Gallery 
  • LatinX and Latin American Studies
  • Office of Church Relations


We also appreciate our partnerships with the following areas of campus, who made more events possible: 

  • Benussen Lecture Series in the Art Department 
  • Civic Engagement Initiatives 
  • Cross-Cultural Center 
  • Tabula Poetica
  • The Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education 

wilkinson college logo    office of the provost logo

art collections department logo   leatherby libraries logo


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"