Comics Studies Society Prizes 2021
The CSS defines comic art as the category of artistic production that incorporates all forms of cartooning, sequential art, and graphic narrative. This includes, but is not limited to, the following forms: 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 4th Annual Conference of the Comics Studies Society (August 6-7, 2021). 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 and citation.
- Reprints of or excerpts from previously published works are not eligible for prizes.
- Nominated Individuals for all CSS Prizes must be members of the CSS for the academic year in which they are nominated. Please visit the CSS’s Membership Page to join the CSS.
For more information regarding the eligibility of CSS Executive Board Members, please see note below.
For past winners of the CSS Prizes, please see here.
Frequency and time period: Prizes are awarded by the CSS at its annual conference for first-time publications (not reprints or revised editions) or (concerning the Chute only) unpublished work occurring during the previous calendar year. For example, the 2021 prizes will cover publications and presentations © 2020.
Nomination process: Peer nominations and self-nominations are welcomed. However, please ensure that nominated individuals are members of the CSS prior to nominating them. Nomination letters are due March 15, 2021. The letter of nomination may take the form of an email and 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.
Nominations and inquiries should be sent by email to the CSS Awards Coordinator, Biz Nijdam, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judging and awarding process: Nominees for each prize will be reviewed by an Awards Subcommittee of not less than three members of the Comics Studies Society, which is approved by the CSS Executive Board and includes the Awards Coordinator and/or the Awards Subcommittee Chair. Prize winners will be notified approximately two months prior to the annual conference and announcements of their award will be published on the CSS website and in Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society.
Statement on Future Naming of Awards: In an effort to advance the priorities of diversity and inclusion embedded in the organization's by-laws, the Comics Studies Society encourages an equitable approach to the future naming of its Awards, such that attention may be drawn to the contributions made to our field by scholars of color and of marginalized genders.
NOTE: All CSS Executive Board Members (except for the CSS Awards Coordinator and the ombudsperson) are eligible for nomination for the CSS Prizes; however, in order to avoid conflicts of interest, the following policies have been established:
- The nominated board member cannot serve on the committee for the specific award that they are being nominated for. They may still serve on other awards committees as long as the committees work separately.
- The nominated board member would have to recuse themselves from any discussion of the award, whether it be in the Awards Committee or within the Executive Board (in the case of the Chute Award, this would include the Graduate Student Caucus).
- A separate channel on Slack or other communication platforms must be established for award discussion, from which the nominated board member would be excluded.
- The nominated board member will not be privy to any information about the award that is not available to any other nominee.
- The Awards Coordinator will serve as a firewall between the committee making the award selection and the nominated board member.
- Any attempt by the nominated board member to seek out information about the award or adjudicating processes not otherwise available to other nominees or to influence the committee’s decision will be immediately reported to the ombudsperson.
- The CSS Awards Coordinator and the ombudsperson are ineligible for the CSS Prizes, since they are both involved in preventing conflicts of interest.
Comics Studies Society Article PrizeThe 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 ScholarshipThe 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 PrizeThe 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 PaperThe 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 Paper. 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. Papers 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 graduate student scholarship in Comics Studies during the previous calendar year. In order to qualify for this award:
- The author must be a graduate student during the awards cycle or have been a graduate student in the year before the awards cycle. This means that the author must either be enrolled in a graduate program at the point of submission or have completed one the year before.
- The author must be a member of CSS at the point of submission. More information on how to join or renew membership may be found on the Society’s website.
- The paper must be at least 7 but no more than 15 pages (not including citations or images). It must have been written during the eligibility year. It may be a conference or seminar paper, or it may be an excerpt from a larger work (like an M.A. thesis or dissertation), but it must stand for evaluation on its own.
More information concerning the Chute Award may be found on the GSC’s website.