Prizes

About the Comics Studies Society Prizes

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 Paper, the Gilbert Seldes Prize for Public Scholarship, the Charles Hatfield Book Prize, and the new CSS Prize for Edited Book Collections.

The CSS Article Prize recognizes scholarly journal articles and essays or chapters in edited volumes 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.

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 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 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. 

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 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 on its own for evaluation.

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.

More information concerning the Chute Award may be found on the GSC’s website.

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