CSS defines comics studies liberally to include the study and critical analysis of comics strips; comic books, papers, and magazines; albums, graphic novels, and other graphic books; webcomics and other electronic formats; single-panel cartoons, including editorial and gag cartoons; caricature; animation; and other related forms and traditions. All types of sequential art, graphic narrative, and cartooning are relevant to our mission.
CSS is the first professional society of comics scholars in the US to be supported by members’ dues while emphasizing professional development opportunities for students and the exchange of best practices among teachers and practitioners.
CSS celebrates and seeks to foster diversity in comics studies, including diversity in scholarly discipline, career position, job niche, and cultural and personal identity. We are serious about helping this field grow.
Statement from CSS Board (Nov 2016)
As the welcoming statement on our website puts it, the CSS “celebrates and seeks to foster diversity throughout the field of Comics Studies, including diversity in scholarly discipline, career position, job niche, and cultural and personal identity. We are serious about helping this field grow.” Recent events have forcefully reminded us of this commitment, and we aim to carry that lesson forward. The CSS Executive Board therefore confirms and celebrates the centrality of diversity to the mission of Comics Studies, and we register our opposition to divisive policies and rhetoric that threaten to tear at the very identity of the United States and of higher education as diverse, pluralistic, accepting, and affirming places.
In our view, scholars and students of all ethnicities, colors, traditions, faiths, heritages, origins, and nations, of all abilities, ages, genders, and sexualities, and of neurodiverse and nonnormative identities – in short, of all kinds and cultures – are not only welcome but absolutely vital to the continuing relevance of Comics Studies as a field. We, the CSS leadership, emphatically reject, and we urge all CSS members to reject, the politics and rhetoric of divisiveness, intolerance, and fear. Furthermore, we aim to stress this commitment in our journal, in our conference activities, and in all our official communications. In the months ahead, CSS members can expect us to underscore and act on this commitment in concrete ways (as will be signaled in our journal and on our website).
In sum, we of the CSS Executive Board will continue to support efforts to fight intolerance, promote cultural visibility and understanding, and stand up for the members of the communities we serve, and we will take steps to foster understanding and inclusion through our collective work. We invite all of CSS to join us in this commitment.