Surface Tension

Politics in the Claremont Bubble, 2015-17


Something isn’t right in Claremont, the city of trees and Ph.D.s located fifty miles east of Los Angeles.

The cluster of elite liberal arts colleges here are overwhelmingly progressive in their politics, forming the so-called "Claremont bubble."

In recent years, student activism has returned to campus in force, echoing the University of Missouri in 2015 and veering into national politics during the 2016 election. Donald Trump’s victory clarified what the bubble really is — not an opaque division between in and out, but a surface that distorts each’s view of the other.

For two years as a photographer for my campus newspaper and local weekly, I documented the rises and falls of movements across the five colleges at the Claremont Consortium.