Syllabus for Beyond the Riot: Zines in Archives and Digital Space



Syllabus for Beyond the Riot: Zines in Archives and Digital Space

Class Description

In this Five College collaborative seminar, we will do hands-on library and archival research to examine queer, feminist, and POC zines from the 1990s and the contexts in which they were produced and circulated. Zines (an abbreviation of "fanzine") are self-published amateur print publications that have been part of U.S. subcultural scenes since at least the 1950s. In the 1990s, zines played a crucial role in sustaining queer and feminist subcultures--the best known being Riot Grrrl--at the cusp of the digital age, when "scenes" were still built through physical correspondence and in-person encounters. This course will explore several library and archival zine collections in the Pioneer Valley, including the Girl Zines collection at Smith, the Margaret Rooks Papers at Mount Holyoke, the Zine Collection at Hampshire, and the Flywheel Arts Space zine library in Easthampton. ‚ÄčOur aim in investigating these collections is to better understand the scenes they document, and to explore the limits of that documentation (Whose work is represented? Whose is absent?). In our readings and research, we hope to complicate zine histories that center Riot Grrrl as the most significant feminist zine subculture of the 1990s. There will be a rigorous schedule of readings rooted in women and gender studies, intersectional feminism, queer studies, cultural studies, and critical librarianship, as well as histories of zines and alternative publishing. While the bulk of our primary sources will be physical zines, our research methods will emphasize digital tools (Google MyMaps, Gephi, StoryMap JS), and students will share their team projects on an open access website. Development for this course was supported by two grants from the Five Colleges: a Mellon grant in Digital Humanities, and a Teagle grant for blended learning and cross campus collaboration.

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