The Comics Studies Society

2018 Conference


The Futures of the Field
The 1st Annual Conference of the Comics Studies Society | August 9-11, 2018
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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This inaugural conference seeks to bring together scholars, artists, and other members of the international Comics Studies community for critical conversations about the futures of the field, in all its multidisciplinary and transcultural formations. Presentations should focus on gaps and opportunities in existing scholarship and may choose to address one or more of the following questions:

  • What are the overlooked, understudied, and emerging areas of comics studies?
  • How might comics studies expand its methodologies? What disciplines should comics studies engage with more fully?
  • How can comics studies foreground issues of representation, equity and justice?
  • How might new technologies and platforms change the way we define, read, teach, draw, and write about comics?
  • What are the significant challenges and opportunities for the futures of comics studies?

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Regional gaps and understudied geographic areas
  • Historical gaps and recovered cartoonists and comics
  • Comics, illustration, and art history
  • Collaboration in comics and comics scholarship
  • Comics pedagogy and classroom canons
  • Scholarship in comics form
  • Comics, conflict, and geopolitics
  • Webcomics and digital technologies
  • Critical race theory, ethnicity studies and comics
  • Queer theory, sexuality studies and comics
  • Postcolonial theory, settler studies, and Indigenous comics
  • Science in/and comics
  • Disability studies and comics studies
  • Educational, governmental, and religious comics

Plenary Speakers

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Hazel Newlevant is a Portland-raised, Queens-residing cartoonist. Their comics include Tender-Hearted, Sugar Town, and If This Be Sin. They are the editor and publisher the anthologies Chainmail Bikini and Comics For Choice. Their work has been honored with the Ignatz Award, Xeric Grant and the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. Hazel's debut full-length graphic novel, No Ivy League, will be published by Lion Forge in 2019. (
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Whitney Taylor is a cartoonist, writer, editor, and public health educator from New Jersey. She has a BA in cultural anthropology from Brown University and received an MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Boston University School of Public Health. Her comics have been published by The Nib, The New Yorker, Rosarium Publishing, BOOM!, Sparkplug Books, Kus, Ninth Art Press, Illustrated PEN, and others. (