Zines and Zinemaking: The Radical History and Creative Future of Self-Published Work

Student Name
Alwyn Mouton
Student Email
Supervised by
Caroline Chung Simpson

This class is an exploration of the medium of self-published artistic and written works called zines. The course will explore the history of the movement of zines and zinemaking, which originated in the U.S. by science fiction writers in the 1930’s [zine, abbreviated from fanzine, modification of magazine] but flourished when feminists within the punk scene began self-publishing in the 1990’s. Now, Seattle is a hub of zine creation, with the annual Short Run zine festival featuring artists from across the country and bookstores as large as Elliot Bay Books including a zine section in their store. Students will be able to study the history of zinemaking as well as its current manifestations here and around the world. The form is inherently anti-capitalist and disestablishmentarian, often a collaborative effort, and deeply rooted in community-building and protest, all components that we will explore in the works and their history. Through the quarter we will view my personal collection of zines accumulated from all across the country over the past 10 years and apply academic and theoretical critical analysis to the work. This will be supplemented by selections from Zines! by V. Vale, Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism by Alison Piepmeier, and Queer Zines by A. A. Bronson. The course will culminate either a) in each student creating their own zine, or b) collaborating to create a single zine as a class, either of which will be workshopped together the second-to-last week and presented the final day.

Topic Statement: This course will be a guided journey through the history and contemporary manifestations of zines, as an anticapitalist art form and a feminist movement.

Learning Objectives: We will explore the origins of zines, the different phases of their use through time, and the current role they play globally. We will also apply critical analysis to some actual zines, and learn how to make one ourselves.

Guiding Questions: What defines a zine? How do the limitations of the form shape the content? If zines occupy a unique artistic/literary/political space, what does this position afford them?

Texts and Materials: Zines! by V. Vale; Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism by Alison Piepmeier; Queer Zines by A. A. Bronso; zines such as Adblock All Spiders Please by Elaine Lin, The Mushroom Dialogues by Lara Kaminoff,  Who Am I I Don’t Know Who Cares by Jon-Michael Frank, and many, many more.

Academic Term
Autumn 2019
Assigned Section