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. (
  • 2019 Conference

    2nd Annual Conference of the Comics Studies Society
    July 25-27, 2019

    Ryerson University, Toronto

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    This 2nd annual conference seeks to bring together scholars, artists, and other members of the international Comics Studies community for critical conversations about the intersections between comics and politics across forms, genres, media, experiences, regions, and cultures. Presentations may take the form of traditional 20-minute research papers or shorter contributions in roundtables organized around a specific theme.

    Topics may include, but are not limited to:

    • The political histories of comics, canonization, censorship, awards
    • The politics of comics historiography, periodization, surveying, mapping
    • The politics of publishing, translation, distribution, consumption
    • The politics of genre: traditions, rewrites, mash-ups
    • The politics of the page: form and style
    • The politics of creation and production
    • Political comics, editorial cartoons, propaganda, educational & activist comics
    • Comics journalism, documentary comics, graphic witness
    • Comix, indies, mini comics, zines, countercultural, underground, taboo comics
    • Critical race theory, ethnicity studies and comics
    • Queer theory, sexuality studies, the body and comics
    • Women's comics, wimmen's comix, gender studies and comics
    • Indigenous comics and settler colonialism
    • Migration, diaspora, conflict comics
    • Ecopolitics, the Anthropocene, animals, non-humans, and comics
    • Disability studies and comics studies
    • The politics of the family, childhood, coming-of-age
    • Politics of the future: fantasy, speculative, SF comics
    • Politics of the past: nostalgia, retro, pastiche comics
    • Intermedial politics, adaptations, remediations, hypermediations
    • The politics of comics research, scholarly publishing, academia
    • Pedagogical politics, comics in the classroom, literacies
    • The politics of comics collecting, curating, display & exhibition
    • Comics librarianship, acquisitions, cataloguing

    Guidelines for Submission

    We are accepting submissions for:

    1. Individual papers (20 min.)
    2. Panels of three papers
    3. Roundtables of short (5 min.) presentations by 4-5 presenters followed by discussion

    A presenter's name may appear twice in the program.
    The deadline for all submissions is January 15, 2019.

    Go to the conference website to download submission templates in Word:

    All proposals should be sent as Word files or PDFs by email to:

    The conference organizers will send out notifications of acceptance by February 15, 2019. Please add our conference email to your trusted senders to ensure email delivery.

    Conference presenters need to be current members of CSS in 2019 at the time of registration.

    The Comics Public Archive: CSS Conference Zine, Edition 2

    Inaugurated at the 2018 CSS conference, all participants and attendees will be encouraged to take notes and/or document their conference experience in zine format (i.e. pencil, pen, crayons, markers, etc.). After the conference, participants can submit their zine (in PDF format) to conference organizers to be included in the official CSS 2019 zine to be made available on the CSS webpage. More details forthcoming.

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