Current Projects

Keywords for Comics Studies is forthcoming from New York University Press in 2020!

Co-Editors Ramzi Fawaz, Shelley Streeby, and Deborah Whaley

From our book proposal: "The 2015-2016 academic year signaled a renaissance in comics studies unprecedented in the history of humanities scholarship in the U.S...Certainly, comics studies is not a new field, emerging as far back as Gilbert Seldes’s classic 1957 study of American popular culture The Seven Lively Arts, and most explicitly with the publication of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art in 1993. Yet the recent exponential growth of comics scholarship and intellectual community points to the field’s newfound relevance to a range of disciplines in the humanities, including media and cultural studies, art history, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, American Studies, history, anthropology and beyond. Quite simply, this renaissance in comics studies is in large part due to the field’s increasing interdisciplinarity, and the daring scholarship of a new generation of researchers who have explored the medium’s unique formal properties in direct relation to its distinct historical, political, and cultural contexts of production and circulation. Some of the field’s most classical debates regarding the value of lowbrow cultural forms, the distinct formal and aesthetic affordances of hand-drawn and sequential art, the effects of print circulation and the development of non-traditional and youth audiences, have either been placed into new contexts, or else revalued for their generative insights into the reading experience...We believe that a Keywords for Comics Studies volume shaped by an interdisciplinary cultural studies vision can provide scholars and non-academic readers with a wide range of terms that speak to the formal and historical specificities of the medium, while also showing how the key aesthetic, political, and cultural questions comics raise have wide-reaching relevance to the humanities."


I am currently completing a new book called Speculative Archives: Women Writers, Science Fiction World-Making, and the Art of Memory


This book focuses on the archiving, memory work, and speculative writing of several great women writers of science fiction, including Octavia E. Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, James Tiptree, Jr., Nalo Hopkinson, and Judith Merril. I argue that their archiving and collecting are connected to world-making projects and the production of speculative theory. In each case, I consider the contexts in which their archival energies were stimulated and how their archiving intervened in larger structures of power. These structures include the world-destroying forces of colonialism and imperialism from the Vietnam War through the early 21st century, which reshaped ecologies and science; schooling and education; gender, race, and sexuality; and politics, government, and international relations. Throughout, I suggest that archiving and fiction writing are important world-making tools for the feminist speculative imagination. 


University of California Multicampus Research and Programs Initiatives (MRPI): “Speculative Futures” ($270,000)

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"Queer Hemisphere: America Queer" UCHRI Research Group

Kirstie A. Dorr, Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego
Deborah R. Vargas, Ethnic Studies, UC Riverside
Marcia Ochoa, Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz

Christina Leon, School of Writing, Literature, and Film, Oregon State University
Justin Perez, Anthropology, UC Irvine
Ivan Ramos, Ethnic Studies, UC Riverside
Shelley Streeby, Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego
Jennifer Tyburczy, Feminist Studies, UC Santa Barbara

Convened by Professors Kirstie A. Dorr, Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego and Deborah R. Vargas, Ethnic Studies, UC Riverside, and Marcia Ochoa, Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz, this residency aims to cultivate an interdisciplinary, multilingual dialogue between Latin America queer theory/sexuality studies and US women/queer of color feminisms. By applying geo-political pressure to ‘queer’ as an analytical category, the goal is to generate more textured accounts of and nuanced dialogues about how gender and sexual alterity are racially produced, lived and circulated in distinct, yet imbricated sites and contexts throughout the Americas. To counter the uncritical mainstreaming of US queer theory as centered site and presumed subject of study, their inquiry will address how current debates within the field concerning tensions between the rural and the urban, the public and the private, the center and the periphery, the productive and the reproductive, or the state and civil society might be differently and differentially articulated from queer and feminist of color perspectives that attend to both the geo-cultural specificities and the geo-historical entanglements that inflect relational scales of racial/sexual management.