The College of Staten Island’s 2014 spring semester Dean’s Symposium began this semester with “Trouble on the Border: How Drugs and Violence Have Shaped Place,” the first of three thought-provoking symposia.

Last month’s panel included moderator and Associate Professor of World Languages and Literatures Oswaldo Zavala, Assistant Professor of Performing and Creative Arts Miguel A. Aragon, and Assistant Professor of Political Science and Global Affairs Aaron Gilbreath. Together they explored the many challenges of the drug trade on the U.S./Mexico border.

[youtube][/youtube] Professor Aragon, teaches printmaking at CSI and has been creating art based on the Mexican war on drugs since he first moved away from Juarez as a young man. His art attempts to bring the violence of the drug trade to the forefront. His technique involves using a laser engraver to burn images of dead cartel members he has gotten Juarez newspapers and online blogs onto cardboard, which then leaves a layer of soot that he transfers to paper.

Professor Gilbreath met Professor Aragon during new faculty orientation and realized they were studying the same subject through different lenses.

[youtube][/youtube] Professor Gilbreath studies the evolution of drug trafficking in Mexico by studying the regionalism of the methamphetamine trade—87 percent of which comes from Mexico. He discusses how the drug trade has evolved and changed in response to public policies, and how it affects those who live there, as well as those who die there because of it.

In contrast to Professor Aragon’s artist’s view of how people experience the drug trade, Professor Gilbreath focuses on the geography.