MSU to Collaborate with Comic Studies Society on Conferences and Scholarship 

Michigan State University and the Comics Studies Society (CSS) are pleased to announce the formation of an ongoing, multiyear collaboration that will begin with the 2022 CSS conference taking place on MSU’s campus. Future CSS conferences will return to MSU in 2025, 2028, and beyond.  

Supported by MSU’s Department of English, the MSU College of Arts & Letters Office of the Dean, and MSU Libraries, the major goals of this collaboration are to facilitate ongoing scholarly conversations at the CSS conference, to encourage lively participation in Artists Alley events held during conferences, and to coordinate extensive engagement with MSU Libraries’ Murray and Hong Special Collections, home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of comic books and related materials in the world, housing more than 350,000 items from North America and international locations, extending from the 1840s to the present.

Professor Julian Chambliss

This collaborative effort is being led by MSU Professor of English Julian Chambliss, who is a scholar of comic books and popular culture.   

“We are grateful for the work that Dr. Julian Chambliss has done since he arrived at MSU to create rich, transformative research and learning opportunities for students whose passions and interests are reflected in the comic arts,” said Bill Hart-Davidson, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Arts & Letters. “This work is vital to our goals for creating programs and re-imagining our institution in ways that embrace more people, more stories, in more media and formats. Thanks to the work of Dr. Chambliss and his colleagues in the CSS, there will be opportunities to make and study media that will inspire generations of young scholars and artists to come!” 

This exciting event will maximize the visibility of the MSU Library’s Comic Art Collection and enhance the reputation of MSU as a destination for the scholarly study of comics and popular culture.

Justus Nieland, Chairperson of the Department of English

In addition to generously hosting the conference, MSU will support annual graduate student research in the Comic Art collection through the MSU Libraries Summer Visiting Scholar program. Candidates for this welcome financial support will be selected from the Graduate Student Caucus of CSS.  

“The Department of English is delighted that Dr. Chambliss is bringing the Comics Studies Society conference to MSU,” said Justus Nieland, Chairperson of the Department of English. “This exciting event will maximize the visibility of the MSU Library’s Comic Art Collection and enhance the reputation of MSU as a destination for the scholarly study of comics and popular culture. It will also offer a great opportunity for our students to engage with leading scholars and artists in this booming field.” 

MSU Dean of Libraries Joseph A. Salem Jr. said he’s delighted the Library’s extensive collection of comics in Murray & Hong Special Collections will be used for more graduate research.  

Comic books in the MSU Libraries’ Murray and Hong Special Collections

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with our campus colleagues to support graduate student research through travel grants and to support the Comic Studies Society through the broader partnership,” Salem said. “We’re also excited we’ll have several opportunities in the years ahead to welcome conference attendees to MSU and into the Main Library to see our collections. We want to expand opportunities for discovery and creation, and this partnership will help us do that. We celebrate the interdisciplinary nature of comics, which engage with history, culture, art, literature, social justice, and science; and we celebrate the interdisciplinary spirit that permeates so many partnerships at Michigan State University. We believe this collaboration will help scholars throughout the country discover our resources at MSU, and we’re excited to have this opportunity to expand awareness and use of our materials in Murray & Hong Special Collections.”  

CSS and MSU look forward to the future of exciting research, scholarship, and camaraderie that are certain to result from this major collaboration.