The History of Border Culture through Visual Art

We are living in a historical period that is full of hostility towards immigrants, and the acceptance of caged and disappearing children. Humans beings are being labeled “illegal” for simply existing on the “wrong” side of an arbitrary, manufactured border.

While the art examined in this course focuses on border culture as it relates to the barrier dividing Mexico and the United States, anti-immigrant sentiment exists all over the world. Many of the creative themes and stories told by the content we will digest throughout the term will be relevant across nations, and historical periods. The power of art as a tool to voice opposition and encourage empathy is needed globally to amplify immigrant voices and call attention to their experiences.

This is a critical analysis course. The major assignments focus on research and writing. For the final assignment students will have the option to write a critical analysis paper, or create a video essay.

Works Discussed include:
Works from the Asco Artist Collective
The Installation Art of Erika Harrsh
Alejandro Iñarritu’s installation Carne y Arena
Readings include:
Idols Behind Altars: Modern Mexican Art and Its Cultural Roots, Anita Brenner
Space, Site, Intervention: Situating Installation Art, Erika Suderburg (Editor)
Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions, Guillermo del Toro
Full syllabus requests can be sent to

Featured image taken by Emmanuel Lubekzi of the Alejandro Iñarritu’s installation Carne y Arena