Mountains, Dartmouth, Simon Ellis
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What is your favorite class this term?

A: Simon headshot

Both because I am working on a big midterm assignment, and I am taking one of the most amazing classes I have ever taken at Dartmouth, my mind can’t seem to wander from “Borderlands Art and Theory” this week. The class is cross-listed between the Art History and Latin and Caribbean Studies departments and is my first class in either subject. Taught by Tatiana Reinoza, the class explores the importance of modern art created in so-called “borderlands” or areas of cultural, geographic, and other forms of separation. This class has taken experiential learning and Dartmouth’s focus on “scholars who love to teach” to another level, so I can’t wait to tell you about it!

I will admit that I took the class to fulfill one of Dartmouth’s distributive requirements, which asks me to take a class in an “art” field. While I might not have taken the class without this requirement, I want to stress that some of the best classes I have taken have come from these distributive requirements. In class, we analyze the works of mostly indigenous and or LatinX artists who incorporate themes of the border between Mexico and America into their work. Not only do we read about the artists and see their work in books, but we get to analyze it first hand.

We have already gone to the Hood Museum twice in the first few weeks of class to interact with these works first hand. Looking at the original pieces and being able to have the world-class resources of a major museum just for this one class has transformed the way I interact with the course material, and helped me identify with it even more. In addition to these museum visits, we have had visits by several of the artists we have analyzed in our classes and get to ask them our questions first hand! 

Finally, I just want to note that our class is even traveling down to an exhibition opening in Queens, NY, later in the term. Professor Reinoza is dedicated to our learning both inside and outside in a way that I would not normally expect from a professor, but have come to accept as a given in some of the classes here at Dartmouth. I am really looking forward to seeing some of the pieces in New York, and might even share a few with you guys!

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