Each year, the board of the Comics Studies Society releases an annual report. You can read the full report over on the Comics Studies Society website, here. Below is the report from the current President of the Graduate Student Caucus, Adrienne Resha.
A year ago, I was most concerned with studying for my comprehensive exams and heading back into a new, but not all that different, semester. Now, it’s hard to say what tomorrow will look like, let alone the end of summer. For the last two years, the annual conference has marked, for me, the end of an academic year: I finished my first year in Urbana-Champaign and my second in Toronto. I was, like many of you, looking forward to Arkadelphia. Now, I’m looking forward to a time when it’s safe to see each other in person again. Between now and then, and in my third year on the Graduate Student Caucus Board, there’s still a lot I want to get done, and I am privileged to be working alongside members of the GSC in doing so.
Before I welcome the new Executive, I want to thank the 2019-2020 GSC Board. Biz Nijdam, Hanah Stiverson, Alex Lampp Berglund, and Safiyya Hosein: on behalf of the graduate student membership of CSS, thank you for your service.
I am very proud to welcome Vice President Evan Ash, Members-at-Large Sydney Heifler and Joshua Roeder, and Secretary-Treasurer Zachary Rondinelli to the 2020-2021 GSC Executive Board. I am also proud to continue to work with Web Editor Jeremy Carnes. This Board has met several times this summer and is already hard at work.
In the next few months, Josh and I will be reworking the Hillary Chute Award. In a good year, attendance at conferences is a marker of privilege, much less one in which many conferences — in, around, and outside of comics studies — have been cancelled. The Chute Award will, as it has this year, continue to recognize excellence in graduate student research and writing. It will just look a little different going forward.
Over the next twelve months, Evan will be representing the Caucus on the CSS Conference Organizing Committee. As Josh and I form the GSC’s Award Committee, Evan is joined by Zach on the GSC’s Conference Committee. Having previously served on the Conference Organizing Committee, I know just how much work goes into planning a conference, and I am absolutely sure that Evan and Zach are up to doing their part for it. They will be supported in doing so by the rest of the GSC Board.
You can learn more about the new officers of that Board here on our website, where we’ve been running “Meet the Board” posts. Our website and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) fall under the purview of our Website Committee, Jeremy and Sydney. Of everything we’ve talked about at our first few meetings, I am most excited by the ideas that these two have put forward. Speaking on behalf of the entire Board: we’re going to do some good work this year.
And speaking for myself: I am privileged to be in my third year of service on the GSC Board. I have served after or alongside many graduate students and early career scholars who I am lucky to count not just as colleagues but also as friends, and some of them graduated this spring under less than ideal circumstances. My sincerest congratulations go out to them and especially to our own Dr. Jeremy Carnes. Just as much as I am looking forward to being able to see each other in person again, I am looking forward to celebrating this cohort of scholars. Until then, know that I’m rooting for all of you.
To those of you who are dissertating now, like me, I want you to know that you’re not alone. To those of you studying now for your comprehensive exams, I wish you the best of luck. And to those of you just beginning your graduate programs, I want you to know that you have a place here, in this community, whether or not you ever run for a spot on the Board or get to present at the annual conference.
And to those of you who have graduated, whether this spring or long before, I want to remind you that you were once a student and that you likely would not be where you are today without the support of more senior scholars. Soon enough, the GSC will be launching a Mentorship Program, and I ask that you offer your time and experience when called on to do so.
Finally, from the GSC Constitution, which I helped rewrite with Joshua Kopin and Bryan Bove during my first year on the Board, “The purpose of the Graduate Student Caucus is to assess the needs and represent the interests of graduate students and early career scholars within the Comics Studies Society and to provide fellowship, support, and advocacy for such individuals as they pursue their work in comics studies.” Further, “The GSC strives to be an inclusive organization and to build solidarity among all graduate students. It will actively seek out to promote the participation and engagement of marginalized groups and underrepresented persons.” For this term, as President, I am committed to our purpose and especially, as a woman of color, to advocacy for other graduate students of color and marginalized genders, both in my service on the GSC Board and on the CSS Executive Board.