GSC President Farewell Address

For the last year, I have opened GSC Board meetings with an exercise in which each officer talks about some thing or things for which they are grateful before choosing the next to go until everyone has participated. So I am going to end my term as President the same way I started Board meetings as President: with gratitudes.

I am grateful to the 2020-21 GSC Board for serving in an exceptional year.

I am grateful to Jeremy Carnes for all of his years of service, especially the ones that have overlapped with mine.

I am grateful to Joshua Roeder and Sydney Heifler for serving as Members-at-Large on the Board. To Josh, for serving on the Chute Committee with me. To Sydney, for hanging out after everyone else left the Zoom call.

I am grateful to Zachary Rondinelli for serving as Secretary-Treasurer, for serving on the CSS Outreach Committee, and for his continued service on the GSC Board and in CSS.

And I am grateful to Evan Ash for his service on the 2021 Conference Organizing Committee and on the GSC and, this next term, CSS Executive Boards.

I am also grateful to everyone who took part in the Mentorship Program, whether testing the applications over the summer, volunteering time and experience as a mentor, participating as a mentee, or matching as a member of the Board.

To incoming members of the Board, Secretary-Treasurer Maite Urcaregui and Member-at-Large Frida Heitland, congratulations!

It has not always been easy or fun, but I have never regretted running for Secretary-Treasurer or Vice President. I hope the returning and newly elected officers get as much out of serving as I have over the last three years. I am very much looking forward to being a member of the Caucus under their leadership.

Adrienne Resha

Spring 2021 Twitter Book Discussion

The Graduate Student Caucus is pleased to announce the first GSC-sponsored Twitter Book Discussion!

While the past year has been extremely difficult and isolating for all of us, we at the GSC firmly believe that connection and conversation are and should be the backbone of comics studies. We know that Twitter doesn’t replicate the actual fun and messiness of an in-person conversation, but we hope to foster a discussion that is thought-provoking, fun, and tides us over until we can be in-person again!

This year’s text will be Qiana Whitted’s EC Comics: Race, Shock, & Social Protest published by Rutgers University Press as a part of the Comics Culture series and winner of the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Work.

The conversations will begin with questions crafted by members of the board of the Graduate Student Caucus, but we hope you will bring your own questions, insights, and ideas about the book as well!

Check out the poster below for more information and be sure to get your copy of EC Comics and follow the Graduate Student Caucus on Twitter so you can read and talk with us starting Monday, March 8th.

You can get your copy of the book directly from Rutgers UP.

2021 Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Paper

The Graduate Student Caucus of the Comics Studies Society endeavors to, following our by-laws, “recognize the outstanding efforts of graduate students working in the field through prizes for outstanding student work.” We have done so annually in the awarding of the Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation. Past winners include Alex Smith (2018), Isabelle Martin (2019), and Haniyeh Barahouie (2020). For 2021, the parameters of the award have been changed, and they will remain changed going forward, but the award will nonetheless recognize outstanding comics studies scholarship by graduate students. From the 2021 cycle onwards, the award will be known as the Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Paper.

Rather than specifically recognize a conference presentation, acknowledging the privilege inherent in being able to attend and present at conferences under the best of circumstances, the Hillary Chute Award will henceforth recognize a graduate student paper under the following conditions:

    • The author must be a graduate student during the awards cycle (2021) 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. Concerning the latter, an author submitting work for consideration in the 2021 cycle may have a degree date no earlier than 2020.
    • 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 (2020). 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.

The Chute Award winner will receive a plaque and a monetary prize. They will also have the opportunity to have a consultation with an editor of INKS: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society.

Submissions will be due on March 15th, 2021, and should be sent to
For questions concerning the Awards process at large, please contact CSS Awards Coordinator Biz Nijdam at the address above. For questions specific to the Chute, you may contact me at

Spring 2021 Mentorship Program

The Graduate Student Caucus of the Comics Studies Society is proud to announce that applications for our Spring 2021 Mentorship Program are now open!

Graduate student:

Applications are open to members of CSS. We ask that mentors who applied in the fall please submit new applications if they intend to participate in this round (and we’d love to hear about your experiences with the Mentorship Program). Applications will close at midnight EST on March 1st, 2021.

If you have any questions, contact Adrienne Resha directly at

Update on the New Mentorship Program from GSC President Adrienne Resha

This update appeared in the recent newsletter for the Comics Studies Society, but we wanted to also share it here since it is particularly pointed to graduate students in comics studies.

Over the summer, shortly after the 2020-21 GSC Executive Board met for the first time, I started working on something that I have wanted to do since joining the Board in 2018: the Mentorship Program. The goal of the program is to create professional connections in the field between members of the Caucus and more senior members of CSS. With the help of GSC and CSS Executive Board members past and present, I created two forms, one for graduate students and one for mentors.

The former asked graduate students to list the discipline in which they are earning their degree and their research interests, rank how important having a mentor in their discipline would be, rank how much engagement they expect from their mentor, and check off options from a list of expectations concerning writing and networking. The latter asked potential mentors to list their own discipline and their research interests, select whether or not they would be willing to work with a mentee in another discipline, rank how much engagement they expect to be able to offer, and check off options from a list of expectations concerning reading and networking. The forms are meant to help pair graduate students with mentors not just according to their research interests but also by what they both expect from the mentorship.

In August, these forms, the Mentorship Program Applications, were made available to CSS’s membership for the first time. There were nearly twice as many mentor applications as graduate student applications, and I am grateful to everyone who applied to be a mentor. As a graduate student member of CSS, I was proud to see senior scholars in the field offer their time and experience to junior scholars. As of this newsletter, all applicants have been contacted and pairs have been made, and each graduate student who applied has been paired with a mentor who shares a significant research interest as well as expectations for the mentorship. The applications themselves are now part of the GSC’s digital archive, with the intention of opening applications again in the future.

Adrienne Resha
GSC President

GSC Executive Committee Nominations–EXTENDED DEADLINE

The Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) of the Comics Studies Society (CSS) is extending the deadline for nominations and self-nominations for TWO positions  on its Executive Board. The CSS GSC represents the interests of graduate students and recent grads (within three years of receiving a degree), contingent faculty, and postdocs in the larger CSS, with the GSC President sitting on the CSS Executive Board. 

The GSC welcomes nominations and self-nominations from GSC members from any stage in their academic career (off or before the tenure-track) for the positions of Secretary-Treasurer and Members-At-Large.

Secretary-Treasurer: The secretary-treasurer assumes the responsibility of managing the society’s finances, keeping minutes from all meetings, and keeping a membership list. The secretary—treasurer serves a one-year term.

Members-At-Large: Two members at large provide advice and aid to the officers of the Caucus. Early career scholars holding contingent positions such as postdoctoral fellowships are encouraged to apply for these positions. The Members-at-Large serve one-year terms.
Details about the responsibilities of each position are outlined in the GSC Bylaws, available here. Information for joining the Society is at CSS website. We encourage nominations and self-nominations from comics scholars working in diverse locations and on all aspects of comics studies.

Please submit your nomination and self-nominations to Biz Nijdam ( Nominees should include a short biography (100-200 words) no later thanMarch 30, 2020. If a nominee is not currently a CSS member, one must join the society by then.

Results of the election will be announced in May 2020.   

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 andS 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 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 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.

A Message from the CSS Grad Student Cacus

With our 2019 conference just around the corner, I wanted to reach out to introduce myself, announce some of our GSC programming at Ryerson, and take care of some administrative tasks in advance of our Annual General Meeting on Friday, July 26th at 1pm.

First things first: My name is Biz Nijdam, and I recently stepped into the role of GSC President. I’ve been on the GSC Executive Committee since 2014 and am honored to follow in the footsteps of former president Joshua Abraham Kopin in leading the GSC as we continue to establish our long-term goals. In particular, I am excited to collaborate with the other officers on GSC’s Executive Committee, Adrienne ReshaSafiyya HoseinHanah StiversonAlex Lampp Berglund and Jeremy M. Carnes, to continue our work supporting graduate students, contingent faculty and postdoctoral fellows in professional development and job market preparation over the course of the next academic year.

To this end, the GSC has organized several events to take place at CSS 2019:

On Thursday, July 25th (8:30am to 9:45am), we will host our second Job Market Clinic, which will take the form of an open conversation between GSC members and tenure-track and tenured faculty. This event is intended to give graduate students, contingent faculty and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to ask questions about the job market process and discuss their job market documents (CVs, Cover Letters, Teaching and Research Statements) with faculty with search committee experience. Anyone contemplating the job market is encouraged to participate. Please see the flier below for more details.

Also on Thursday, July 25th (11:30am to 12:45pm), Hanah Stiverson will moderate the GSC-sponsored roundtable “Best Practices in Comics Scholarly Publishing”. With publishing being such an important part of securing a tenure-track position in today’s academic job market, the GSC is dedicated to helping foster the skills necessary for graduate students and contingent faculty to attain publishing success. This roundtable will feature comics scholars with specific expertise in different types of academic publishing in the field of comics studies and beyond. Each presenter will speak to one topic for 6 minutes, offering best practices and an informational handout, before we open the floor for questions.

In conjunction with this roundtable, the GSC is organizing an Academic Mentorship Program. This program will create opportunities for motivated graduate students, postdocs and contingent faculty to connect with established scholars in the field of comics studies. After sharing one piece of writing with their mentor, mentor and mentee will meet once over the course of the conference to discuss turning the project into a journal article or book chapter. Please see the flier below for more information.

Lastly, below you will find the recently redrafted Constitution of the Graduate Student Caucus, which we will be voting on in Toronto in July. Please review this document in advance of our Annual General Meeting on Friday, July 26th at 1pm in order to prepare for any discussion that may occur.

On behalf of all of us on the GSC Executive Committee, I would like to wish those of you who can make it safe travels to Canada! We look forward to seeing you all in Toronto! And please keep an eye on the GSC Website over the next 6 weeks, as we will be posting more event information, introductions to our new officers, and helpful tips on exploring the city of Toronto!


GSC President