CSS 2023 | Comics on the Margins

CSS 2023 | "Comics on the Margins"

Conference Information

Keynote Speakers:
MariNaomi, Frederick Luis Aldama, and Rupert Kinnard

Conference Registration Rates

  • Tenured/Tenure-Track Scholars and Administrators
    • Early Bird: $165; $180 After 5/26/23
  • Contingent Scholars and Non-Tenure Track Faculty and Staff, Comics Creators, Librarians, Scholars of the Global South, and K-12 Instructors
    • Early Bird: $90; $105 After 5/26/23
  • Graduate Students
    • Early Bird: $60; $75 After 5/26/23
  • Undergraduate Students
    • Early Bird: $15; $30 After 5/26/23
Other Conference Tidbits
  • Make sure to apply for one of the CSS Travel Awards!
  • Hotel and Travel Information is available here.
  • Denton, Texas has a lot of great things to see and do, too! Check out our Local Host Recommendations to plan your trip.
  • None of this conference would be possible without all of our sponsors. CSS appreciates everyone who gave at any level to make this event happen!
  • If you would like to give to CSS 2023 or sponsor any portion o the conference, you can still give here.
  • For more information on the impetus for this gathering, you can check out the original call for papers below!

Comics have long been associated with both literal and figurative margins—think underground comix artists who worked outside the mainstream or cartooning’s common categorization as an inherently disposable low art. The history of comics calls attention to marginalization as a formal structure, visual aesthetic, and sociopolitical position that shapes and reshapes culture, from racist and sexist caricatures that capture the anxiety of their moment to resistant narratives of marginalized BIPOC, queer, and disabled creators seizing their own graphic narratives. Comics likewise become legible and purposeful through the formal use of margins and gutters, sites that open up radical space for rebellious reading and meaning-making practices. At the same time, librarians and instructors at every educational level across the nation have had to contend with comic book bans that seek to marginalize certain cartoon narratives into nonexistence. 

The 6th Annual Comics Studies Society Conference seeks to make space for comics on the margins, and encourages participants to consider the formal, aesthetic, political, and social ways of seeing and reading cartooning’s relation to the marginal spaces, concepts, and peoples. In direct response to the troubling legislation in Texas and elsewhere in the US, we hope to use this conference as a site of resistance to the politics of the state. To that end, we encourage roundtables, panels, workshops, and individual papers that work to better understand how comics creators and cartoons reshape, resist, and reclaim the margins. This year’s keynote presenters—Frederick Luis Aldama, Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, and MariNaomi, author of the forthcoming comic I Thought You Loved Me—reflect CSS’s ongoing commitment to supporting scholarship and cartooning by marginalized and underrepresented peoples.

Given the current post-Roe political climate, structured by anti-immigrant and antiblack violence and legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ identities, CSS recognizes Texas as a site of ongoing visible struggle against oppressive forces by marginalized scholars, teachers, librarians, and creators alike. In connection with the University of North Texas, a majority-minority Hispanic-serving research university serving 44,000 students in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the 6th Annual Comics Studies Society Conference Committee will highlight comics art, scholarship, and pedagogy that resist marginalization, and is committed to intentional engagement with and support of regional BIPOC artists and academics.