NYU Press has published a perhaps unexpected new title in its highly regarded Keywords series: Keywords for Comics Studies. Other fields covered by the series include long-established academic fields such as African American studies, Asian American studies, and environmental studies, among several others. But the new title isn’t really an outlier, explains Eric Zinner, NYU Press Associate Director and Editor-in-Chief.
“We developed the Keywords series to provide a vocabulary for important fields and subfields that have developed in the humanities over the past fifty years or so,” Zinner says. “Usually these fields are well-established, but we have also used the series as a way to build momentum for newly emergent areas of study—and this was the motivation for Keywords for Comics Studies. We saw new, intellectually rich scholarship engaged with comics and sequential art—a wildly popular but understudied medium.”
The editors of Keywords for Comics Studies are Ramzi Fawaz, Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Shelley Streeby, Professor of Ethnic Studies and Literature at the University of California, San Diego; and Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, Professor of American and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. The diverse perspectives they brought to Keywords for Comics were appealing to Zinner.
“I was excited by the way comics studies interacted with cross-disciplinary work not only in popular culture, media and communications, and literary studies,” Zinner says, “but also, increasingly, in the study of race, gender, and sexuality. To me, this was the book the field needs right now, and it was just right for the NYU Press. I hope it will help accelerate the recognition of comics studies and increase its engagement with a wider area of scholars and scholarship.”
You can explore Keywords for Comics Studies, and all the books in the series, on the NYU Press Keywords website. You'll find selected excerpts, an index of all the book's terms, resources for teaching, and more.