Calendar of Events

Spring 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015
Janice Radway (Communication, Northwestern)
Riot Grrl poster
Riot Grrrl History, Underground Itineraries and Girl Zine Networks: Unruly Subjects in the 1990s and Beyond
3:30 pm Curtin 175

Drawing on recently established zine archives and oral history interviews with former girl zine producers as well as with zine librarians, archivists, and commentators, this presentation will explore the significance of the fact that dissident and non-conforming girls and young women developed an interest in what are now called “girl zines” through a number of different routes, with a range of different interests, and at different moments over the course of the last twenty years.

Some were directly inspired by Riot Grrrl bands in the early 1990s. Others happened across zines at alternative bookstores and info-shops and at punk performances both in the ‘90s and later. Still others learned of them through popular magazines, college courses, public and private libraries, or through quite varied friendship networks.

The fact of this social, material and temporal variability raises important questions about whether “girl zines” should be thought of as a unitary genre and, correlatively, whether the girl zine explosion itself should be construed as secondary effect of the apparently pre-existing Riot Grrrl phenomenon. Tracing the different itineraries and trajectories that these zines followed over time raises additional questions about whether these two social occurrences should be understood as an event, a social movement, a discourse, a political intervention, or something else. In seeking to explore these issues, the presentation will raise questions about how to think the recent history of feminism and its relationship to other “new social movements” at a time of significant economic, political, and technological change in the 1980s, ‘90s, and into the 21st century.

Brown bag lunch discussion
Friday, February 13
12 noon Curtin 939
Reading: Janice Radway, "Zines Then and Now: What Are They? What Do You Do with Them? How Do They Work?," in From Codex to Hypertext: Reading at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, ed. Anouk Lang (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012), 27-47.

Janice Radway is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication Studies and a professor of American studies and gender studies within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She is also the director of the Rhetoric and Public Culture Program within the communication studies department. Radway is widely known for her scholarship on readers, reading, books, and the history of middlebrow culture.

She is the author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature and A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire. In addition, Radway co-edited American Studies: An Anthology and Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1945, which is Volume IV of A History of the Book in America. Currently, Radway is working on an oral history of girls, their underground publishing efforts during the 1990s, and their subsequent lives.

Image via The WordPress posting references Janice Radway, “Zines, Half-lives, and Afterlives: On the Temporalities of Social and Political Change,” PMLA 126, no. 1 (2011): 140-150

UWM Year of the Humanities

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