zine history, the zine network, topics, and teaching zines in classrooms

by Elke Zobl
(April 2004)


- Underground Press:
One could argue that in their loosest form zines exist since people began to write, copy and self-publish. Zines stand in this long tradition of self-publication. Historically, they could even be traced back to 1517 when Martin Luther published his "zine", the "Ninety-five Theses," a time when Johannes Gutenberg had just invented the printing press and self-publication began to spread. Self-publication has always been a political medium and frequently used to express resistance, for example during the French Revolution.

- Art, Artists' Books, and Mail Art:
Self-publishing has been a method closely associated with several art movements in the 20th century. In journals, magazines, leaflets, and mail-art, Dadaist, Surrealist, Fluxus and Situationist artists employed techniques such as collages, bricolages, and detournment of magazine images and had a strong influence on zine editors later on.
Since the 1990s, many young artists use zines to create their own creative spaces, distribution networks and audiences independent of the established gallery and exhibit system.

- Science Fiction Fanzines (1930-1960).
As a distinct form, zines originated in the 1930's in the United States when fans of science fiction began to publish and trade their own stories. The term "fanzine" became recognized as the abbreviation of "fan magazine" and later on was shortened to "zine."

- Punk Zines:
In the 1970s, when punk rock music emerged, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) ethos found a fertile ground in zines. This ethos combined with the increasing accessibility of photocopy technology fueled an explosion of zines.

- (Riot) Grrrl Zines: When in 1991 the riot grrrl movement emerged out of the alternative and punk music scene in the United States, thousands of young women began to produce personal and political zines with explicitly feminist themes. Bikini Kill called in their manifesto upon young women to form bands, to mutually learn and teach instruments and to publish zines.
Nowadays, some women ("grrrls") who grew out of the riot grrrl movement have chosen to reclaim the title and call themselves "ladies." Their politics remain devoted to assertive feminism and activism.

- E-Zines: During the 1990s the zine network expanded enormously into the realm of e-zines. In addition to the typical objectives, these online zines serve often as resource and network sites. But although the Internet makes e-zines available worldwide and allows geographically isolated people to correspond, one should not forget that it is still a privilege to have access to computer-technology.

History resources:

Zine Book: http://www.zinebook.com/directory/zine-history.html
Heath Row: From Fandom to Feminism: An Analysis of the Zine Press (1997) http://www.geocities.com/echozinedistro/history.html

How do zines look like?

Who does zines?


- Print zines
New Pollution: national print zine directory (Australia) - http://evolver.loud.org.au/nupoo/print/

- E-zines [electronic zines] (or 'Cybergrrrl zines')
Geekgirl: Australian, network platform, http://www.geekgirl.com.au/
Come on grrrl! Brazilian e-zine http://geocities.com/comeongrrrl/

- (Grrrl) Maga-Zines
Bust - http://www.bust.com/
Venus - http://www.venuszine.com/
New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams - http://www.newmoon.org/

- Comics
Action Girl - http://www.houseoffun.com/action/index.html
DIY comix: An instructional pamphlet
Comics Resources: http://www.zinebook.com/directory/comic-books.html

- Review and Resource Zines [online and print]
Zine Guide - http://www.zineguide.net/

Zine book - http://zinebook.com/
Bibliotheque: http://www.lunar-circuitry.net/bibliotheque/

Zinesters - http://www.zinesters.net/
Zinesters Travel Guide -http://www.zinesters.net/travel/index.html
Zine World - http://www.undergroundpress.org/
Queer zine explosion - http://www.io.com/~larrybob/qze.html
Grrrl Zine Network - http://www.grrrlzines.net/
Stolen Sharpie Revolution - http://www.microcosmpublishing.com/
Book Your Own Fuckin' Life - http://www.byofl.org/
Slug & Lettuce: A Zine Supporting The Do-It-Yourself Ethics Of The Punk Community

- Distros [distribution service provider/mailorder catalogs]
International zine distros: http://www.grrrlzines.net/zines/distros.htm
Microcosm Publishing: http://microcosmpublishing.com/
Grrrl Style! Distro: http://grrrlstyle.org/

- Online mailing lists, message boards and live journal communities:
Edgy-catin Mama: http://pub15.ezboard.com/btheedgycatinmamas
Pander Forum: http://messageboard.panderzinedistro.com/cgi/ikonboard.cgi
Zine Yahoo groups (mailing lists): http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=zines&submit=Search
Stolen Sharpie Live Journal community: http://www.livejournal.com/community/stolensharpie/

- Zine archives
Zine archives: http://www.zinebook.com/directory/zine-archives.html
Zine Libraries: http://www.zinebook.com/resource/libes.html
Independent Publishing Resource Center (Portland) - http://www.iprc.org/about.php
SDSU: West Coast Zine Archive (San Diego): http://infodome.sdsu.edu/about/depts/spcollections/rarebooks/zinesfindingaid.shtml
Che Café Zine Library (San Diego): http://checafe.ucsd.edu/zines.html

- Zine gatherings, festivals and conferences
Portland Zine Symposium - http://www.pdxzines.com/
Allied Media Conference (Bowling Green)- http://www.clamormagazine.org/amc/

- Zine exhibits
Page Me - http://www.spacesgallery.org/aboutpm.html
The Bookmobile - Mobilivre - http://www.mobilivre.org/

- Zine workshops
Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go (San Diego): http://www.grrrlzines.net/agogo.htm

What are zines about?


- Personal and Political
rock start with words (US)
girlswirl (US)
Framing Historical Theft (Philippines)
Pretty Ugly (Australia) - http://www.pretty-ugly.com/

- Music - Punk [fanzines]
Girls Guide to Touring (US)
Venus Zine (US) - http://www.venuszine.com/
Rockrgrl (US) - http://www.rockrgrl.com/
Catch That Beat! (Japan) - http://www.indiepages.com/ctbgirl/
Girl Conspiracy (Sweden)

- Riot Grrrl
riot grrrl Europe - http://riotgrrrleurope.net
grrrl: rebel (Malaysia) - http://grrrlzines.net/interviews/grrrlrebel.htm (interview)
Riot Grrrl International Message Board - http://users.boardnation.com/%7Ecucalips/index.php

- DIY - art & crafts & hobbies
France and ambers apartment (US)
Ladyfriend zine (US) - http://ladyfriend.homestead.com/
Arts & crafts revolution (US)
glue magazine (US) - http://www.gluemagazine.com/
hope (US)
Ker-bloom (US)
food geek (US)
Cruiser - a zine about cruiser bikes (US)
Travelling Shoes (US)

- Politics and Activism
Clamor Magazine (US) - http://www.clamormagazine.org/
The CIA makes Fiction unexciting (US)

- Women's Bodies
Oya (US)
Figure 8 (US)

- Abuse - Violence Against Women
Bendita: latin's women initiative against violence towards women (Brazil) - http://www.benditazine.com.br/
Fight Back! (Sweden)
Women's Self-Defense: Stories and Strategies of Survival (US)
Take Back the News! (US) http://www.takebackthenews.net/

- Mothering - feminist parenting
Hip mama - the parenting zine (US) - http://www.hipmama.com/
East village inky (US) - http://www.ayunhalliday.com/inky/
Mother Rebel (US)

- Queer / Trans / Lesbianism
The Urban Hermitt (US)

- Mental and Physical Health
Doris: DIY antidepression guide (US)
driving blind (US) - http://www.drivingblind.org

- Ethnicity and Race
Bamboo Girl (US) - http://www.bamboogirl.com
Evolution of a race riot (US) - http://www.worsethanqueer.com/slander/zine.html
Big Boots (Canada) - http://bigboots.shemadethis.com/

- Class
Nothing to be said here (US)

- Religion
I was a Teenage Mormon (US)
Plotz (US)

Why do young people make zines?

Why are zines important?

Zines in classrooms / zine workshops:

If more time available (2-3 weeks):
- making a zine together: handing out zines, students choose a zine, take them home, review them, discuss topics in class, vote on one or everyone writes about an issue that is of interest to her or him, responsible for 2-4 pages, drafts, feedback from other students, assembling zine together, handing out photocopied zines, trying to distribute it locally or/and via distros
- writing of zine reviews

- screening of the video Grrlyshow by Kara Harold: http://www.grrlyshow.com. 18 min, 2001 (distributed by Women Make Movies, http://www.wmm.com/) or/and D.I.Y. Or Die: How To Survive as an Independent Artist by Michael Dean (Spanning a whole range of media including music, film, performance art, graphic design and publishing) 2003?.

Zine workshop in one afternoon:
- making a zine together: showing zines, explaining what and why, history, everybody does a page, photocopying

Interesting questions to discuss:
- What are the differences between mainstream media and alternative media?
- How are zines used as a tool of self-discovery and empowerment?
- What will be the future of zines? Will print zines disappear?

How do I make a zine/e-zine?

Questions and Answers about Zines from the Action Girl Newsletter: http://www.houseoffun.com/action/zines/qanda.html
How to do your own zine from the Action Girl Newsletter
Sarah Dyers advice on zine etiquette: http://www.houseoffun.com/action/zines/ordering.html
Starting zines/e-zines (Chip Rowe): http://zinebook.com/roll.html
E-Zine Tips & Tricks: http://www.zinebook.com/directory/ezine-help.html

More on zine pedagogy:

Stay Free! High School Media Literacy Curriculum (http://www.stayfreemagazine.org/ml/) and their Class Zine Project: http://www.stayfreemagazine.org/ml/assignments/zines.pdf

Engaging Resistant Writers Through Zines in the Classroom by Judith Williamsonhttp

KRISTIN G. CONGDON AND DOUG BLANDY: Zinesters in the Classroom: Using Zines to Teach about Postmodernism and the Communication of Ideas. Art Education 56, no3, 44-52, May 2003.

AMY J. WAN: Not Just for Kids Anymore: Using Zines in the Classroom. Radical Teacher, no55, 15-19, 1999.


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