By Perla Arellano
For 31 years, the Creative Mind Humanities Lecture Series has brought scholars to speak about a variety of topics. This year, lectures are featuring political cartoonists and their significance in history.
Dr. David Rausch Jr., the Teel Bivins professor of political science at West Texas A&M University, spoke on the significance of political cartoons in history on Jan. 30. Two more speakers are scheduled in the following weeks.
Dr. Bradford Mudge, a professor of 18th century British literature at the University of Colorado-Denver, will give the lecture, “The Hidden Life of Caricature” at 12:30 p.m. today on the Washington Street Campus. His second lecture, “On Portraits and Money,” will be at 7 p.m. today on the Downtown Campus.
Ben Sargent, a Pulitzer Prize winner, AC alumnus and former political cartoonist for the Austin American-Statesman, will give the lecture, “This is Not a Pipe: Symbolism in Cartoons” at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 13 on the Washington Street Campus. His second lecture, “Beyond the Tipping Point: Cartooning in the Digital Age,” will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 on the Downtown Campus.
Kristin Edford, program coordinator of humanities and philosophy, said a grant was given to cover speaker costs after an application to Humanities Texas, an affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities.
She said it will be interesting to see how political artists viewed politics over 100 years.
“Satire has been around since the early Greeks, and we use comedy to kind of voice political opinion in terms of how feel about what happens in government,” Edford said.
To reach other members of the community, there will be an exhibit in the downtown library showcasing political cartoons over 100 years.
“When you look at Amarillo, what do you have? You have Pantex, Bell, you have lawyers. We have a real diversity here,” Edford said. “And this is one of those topics that people are going to want to hear about.”
Donna Littlejohn, director of library services with the Amarillo Public Library, said they have collaborated with different programs at AC, but this is the first time they have worked with the Creative Mind Series.
“They approached us about housing the political cartoon display here at the library to reach a broader community,” Littlejohn said.
The exhibit, “Cartooning Texas: 100 Years of Cartooning Arts in the Lone Star State,” will consist of 10 panels from different artists over the years and will be visible during regular library hours through Feb. 28.
“It will show through the history how political cartooning has been used to bring issues to people’s attention in a visual and concise manner,” Littlejohn said.
Presidential Scholars will be present at the lectures, greeting and showing people around and through the various areas during the events.
“The Presidential Scholars really do a lot to help pretty much anywhere on campus that needs extra manpower,” said Emily Reitz, a secondary education major and a Presidential Scholar.
The Scholars are able to choose from a variety of projects on which they will personally work. Reitz said she chose to work with the series because she was interested in the subject.
“Politics is a very important thing that students need to know about,” she said. “I was just reading in my Texas government textbook that Texas voter registration is very low for the country. The more students understand politics, the more they are going to want to go out and vote.”
There is another part of the series, Reitz added, that connects the cartoons and media. She said the media is a strong force since our world is driven by it.
“We are on our phones, on Facebook,” Reitz said. “Political cartoons impact people more strongly than a lot of articles do because it’s more visceral; you can see it.”