Amy Sara Carroll's spring seminar “Undocumentation" (LSP 4621, SHUM 4620, AMST 4620, COML 4616, FGSS 4620, LATA 4620, ROMS 4625, VISST 4620) began as a drawing workshop. Distributing paper and pencils at the seminar’s first meeting, Carroll asked her students to sketch from memory the Mexico-US border. Student responses were eclectic and electric—ranging from a realistic rendition of the post-1848 border to an abstract portrayal of a wall with a hole ripped into the very paper on which it was transposed. The responses illustrated the complexities of the border’s current configurations in US, Mexican, and global imaginaries.
For its second meeting, the class relocated to Olin Library’s Map and Geospatial Information Unit. In the “Maps Room,” as it’s more colloquially known, librarians Howard Brentliner, Robert Kotaska, and Eliza Bettinger introduced the students to physical maps of the borderlands from various historical periods and sources. Each student had to choose one or two maps to engage with in ways that they found compelling.
From this open-ended assignment, the exhibit "DRAW A LINE - - - - - - - - - -" emerged. Students rethought, remediated andreworked their projects with revisions influenced by assigned seminar readings and viewings and by conversations about immigration and free trade.
The exhibit, located in Olin Library’s Basement Display case from April 23 - May 26, 2018, represents a unique collaboration between library staff and Carroll’s “Undocumentation” seminar, and includes works by undergraduate and graduate students Julissa Andrade, Lydia Anglin, Elise Czuchna, Michelle Dan, Diego García Blanco, Salvador Herrera, Laura Pérez-León, and Emily Celeste Vázquez Enríquez.
The exhibit was made possible with support from Cornell librarians Howard Brentlinger, Robert Kotaska, Craig Mains, Oluwayimika Osunsanya and Eliza Bettinger.
Amy Sara Carroll '95 is a Cornell University alumna, MFA (Creative Writing, Poetry) and a Society for the Humanities Fellow 2017-2018.
Photos by Carla DeMello