The Comics Studies Society

Comics Studies Society Prizes 2020

The Comics Studies Society (CSS) recognizes outstanding contributions to the study of comic art with five annual prizes: the CSS Article Prize, the Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation, the Gilbert Seldes Prize for Public Scholarship, the Charles Hatfield Book Prize, and the new CSS Prize for Edited Book Collections.

The CSS defines comic art liberally to include all forms of cartooning, sequential art, and graphic narrative: comic 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.

The CSS is currently soliciting nominations for all five prizes, which will be awarded at the 3rd Annual Conference of the Comics Studies Society at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (August 5-8, 2020). Winners will receive a $300 cash award and a plaque. Please see
http://comicssociety.org/conference/ for conference details.

  • Nominations for the CSS prizes may be historical, biographical, critical, analytical, pedagogical, and/or bibliographical in focus.
  • Nominations should draw on original research, acknowledge and advance existing scholarship where relevant, and include appropriate documentation.
  • Reprints of or excerpts from previously published works are not eligible for prizes.
Frequency and time period: Prizes are awarded by the CSS at its annual conference for first-time publications (not reprints or revised editions) or original presentations bearing a copyright date for the previous calendar year. For example, the 2020 prizes will cover publications and presentations © 2019.

Nomination process: Peer nominations and self-nominations are welcomed. Nomination letters are due March 15, 2020. The letter of nomination should do the following:

  • Identify the work’s complete title, author(s) name(s), publisher, and original copyright date.
  • Include means of access to a complete digital copy of the work that members of the CSS Prize Committee can access as needed (alternately, for works native to print and best viewed in print, nomination requires three complete physical copies of the published book or article to be sent via mail).

Nominations and inquiries should be sent by email to the CSS Awards Coordinator, Biz Nijdam, at awards@comicssociety.org. Instructions on mailing physical copies will be provided in reply.

Judging and awarding process: Nominees for each prize will be reviewed by a committee of not less than three members of the Comics Studies Society, as chosen by the CSS Executive Board, including the Awards Coordinator or their designee. Prize winners will be notified by June 15th, and announcements will be published on the CSS website and in Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society.
  • Comics Studies Society Article Prize
    The CSS Article Prize recognizes scholarly journal articles and anthology chapters from the previous year that significantly advance the field of Comics Studies—that is, articles or essays that greatly add to our understanding of comic art and/or its historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical contexts.

    Eligibility and qualifications: This prize recognizes high-quality, research-oriented articles about comic art or Comics Studies, written in English and published in print journals and/or online journals, or as chapters in books and/or e-books by either academic or other publishers.
  • Gilbert Seldes Prize for Public Scholarship
    The Seldes Prize acknowledges the year’s best scholarly writing about comic art or Comics Studies published in public venues outside of academia, whether online or in non-academic periodical format. This prize is named in honor of Gilbert Seldes, the pioneering American cultural critic who almost a century ago first celebrated the comics, the most “despised” of the “lively arts,” and called for their proper study and appreciation. Comics Studies as a field emerged out of the writings and research of individuals who followed in Seldes’s footsteps, studying and preserving the history of a form that few academic institutions would embrace until the late 20th century. Even as Comics Studies becomes more fully integrated into the 21st-century academy, this long tradition of public criticism and scholarship continues to serve as its life’s blood.


    Eligibility and qualifications: The Seldes Prize recognizes written work in essay, article, or blogpost form (podcasts, videos, and other audiovisual formats are not eligible). The prize is awarded to the writer (or, in the case of collaborative work, writers) judged best by the prize committee, based on a portfolio of up to three pieces of up to 2000 words each. For writers working in longer forms, the total word count of the submitted portfolio must be limited to 6000 words. The site of publication must be “public” and non-academic in nature (that is, unaffiliated with an academic institution), though the prize winner may or may not have an academic affiliation.


    The Seldes Prize is co-sponsored by CSS and Inks founding editor Jared Gardner.
  • Charles Hatfield Book Prize
    The Charles Hatfield Book Prize, named for CSS cofounder and first President Charles Hatfield, recognizes scholarly books from the previous year that significantly advance the field of Comics Studies—that is, books that greatly add to our understanding of comic art and/or its historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical contexts.


    Eligibility and qualifications: This prize recognizes high-quality, research-oriented monographs about comic art or Comics Studies, written in English or translated into English (based upon the year of English publication) and published in book and/or e-book format by either academic or other publishers. Periodicals are not eligible for this prize. Archival editions of comics or comic art will not be eligible for this prize unless they incorporate a substantial scholarly component including extensive original research.
  • The CSS Edited Book Prize
    The CSS Edited Book Prize recognizes recognizes high-quality, research-oriented, and multi-authored edited collections from the previous year that significantly advance the field of Comics Studies—that is, edited books that greatly add to our understanding of comic art and/or its historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical contexts.

    Eligibility and qualifications: This prize recognizes high-quality, research-oriented, and multi-authored edited collections about comic art or Comics Studies, written in English or translated into English (based upon the year of English publication) and published in book and/or e-book format by either academic or other publishers. Special issues of journals are not eligible for this prize. 
  • Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation
    The Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) of the Comics Studies Society is committed to encouraging finely-crafted and innovative comics scholarship by members of the graduate student community.  To promote the writing and dissemination of such scholarship, the GSC awards the Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation. The award is named for Hillary Chute, whose pioneering work as a comics scholar paved the way for feminist and political readings of graphic memoir. Presentations will be judged by blind review based on overall quality and contribution to the field of Comics Studies.
     

    Eligibility and qualifications: This prize recognizes outstanding conference papers in Comics Studies presented by graduate students during the previous calendar year. In order to qualify for this award, applicants must prove upon request their status as a graduate student at the time of the presentation. Valid and current membership in the Comics Studies Society is also required. Submissions should be in one of the following formats:

    • A paper in .doc or PDF format, paired as necessary with slides formatted as a PDF (no PowerPoint, Google Slides, or other slide formats will be accepted).
    • Or a video in .mp4 format of slides, with a voiceover giving the complete text of the argument.


    Submissions should reflect the paper as it was given at the conference, and must be of “conference paper” length, that is, roughly 6 to 12 pages. No “extended” versions of papers presented at conferences will be considered.
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