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Two students examine how graphic art and comics reflect the changing character of America’s identity over time through an exhibit that will open in April and run through the end of the semester in the upper dining hall of Farinon College Center.

Jose Tano ’06 (Manila, Philippines) and Allan Amanik ’06 (Lakewood, N.J.) became curators at the request of Gladstone Fluney Hutchinson, dean of studies, who hired them to aid in projects for the class of 2009 first-year experience. Their initial task was to create a series of comics to complement the first-year students’ online discussion reactions to the book In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman. Hutchinson then decided to have the students create an exhibit to help others understand the role comics have played throughout history and how they reflect American culture leading up to Spiegelman’s work.

As a result of their research, Tano and Amanik put together panels taken from comic books dating from the late 1930s to today that deal with issues such as drugs, child abuse, juvenile delinquency, patriotism, war, disease, gender, race, homosexuality, and censorship.

“From this exhibit, we hope that the campus will learn to appreciate comics as more than just ‘kids’ books’ and realize that the subject matter was and is often sophisticated and socially relevant,” says Amanik.

He adds that comics are powerful in reflecting and commenting on the times.

As a mathematics-economics major, Tano is conducting an honors thesis predicting the sales of hardcover books and an independent study on comic books with Suzanne Westfall, professor and head of English. He is a writing associate and a member of Calculus Calvary. Tano is also a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society, and Omicron Delta Epsilon, the national economics honor society.

In an honors thesis for his self-designed Jewish affairs major, Amanik is comparing and contrasting the integration of Holocaust survivors in the United States and Israel and how it affects those societies’ understanding of the Holocaust. Also majoring in goverment & foreign languages, Amanik paints portraits in the Williams Visual Arts Building and for three years was the comic artist of TheLafayette. He has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Delta Pi, the national Spanish honors society. He was a department representative at the presidential inauguration and recipient of the Reverend J. W. and R. S. Porter Bible Prize, awarded at the annual Honors Convocation for outstanding proficiency in the study of religion based on work done in the student’s first and second years.

Categorized in: Academic News