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A Citation Analysis about Scholarship on Zines

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A Citation Analysis about Scholarship on Zines

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INTRODUCTION Zine scholarship is a relatively new academic field that has emerged since the late 1990’s. Now that two decades have passed since the publication of Stephen Duncombe’s seminal text, Notes From Underground, it is possible to take a landscape view of how and why zine scholars have studied zines in peer-reviewed journal publications. Knowing how scholars have studied zines can teach us about how zines and zine culture have contributed to academic knowledge. We can also learn which subjects are understudied as zine scholars continue to investigate these curious ephemeral print objects. METHODS This study uses citation analysis to uncover how scholars have explored zines and zine culture as objects worthy of academic inquiry between the dates of 1990 and 2018. The purpose of this study is to examine whether (and how) zines have held influence as objects worthy of study over time, to determine which disciplines tend to treat zines as a valuable academic pursuit, and to reveal what subtopics those scholars tend to focus on. RESULTS& DISCUSSION This study analyzes 163 peer-reviewed articles published between 1990 and 2018, and finds that a) scholarly interest in zines has increased steadily and by 1,700% over 28 years; b) that scholars in the fields of Library Science, Education, Feminist Studies, and Media Studies are most likely to study zines; and c) that zine scholars pursue a wide and varied range of subtopics most prominently concentrated in “riot grrrl” studies, “collection development,” “music criticism,” and a suite of articles about aspects of art. More nuanced analysis based on discipline and subtopic are discussed in the findings. CONCLUSION This study makes clear that zines are influential and worthy objects of study, not just as a form of print media, but as educational and pedagogical tools in the classroom, as evidence of activism, political movements, third-wave feminism, cultural critiques, cultural movements, and much more. Future scholars may use this study to build upon more established topics as well as those that are understudied.
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Hays, A. (2020). A Citation Analysis about Scholarship on Zines. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly
Communication, 8(General Issue), eP2341. https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2341
A Citation Analysis about Scholarship on Zines
Anne Hays
Volume 8, General Issue (2020)
This article underwent fully-anonymous peer review in accordance with JLSC’s peer review policy.
jlsc-pub.org eP2341 | 1
ISSN 2162-3309 10.7710/2162-3309.2341
A Citation Analysis about Scholarship on Zines
Anne Hays
Assistant Professor & Coordinator of Library Instruction, College of Staten Island, CUNY
INTRODUCTION Zine scholarship is a relatively new academic eld that has emerged since the late 1990’s.
Now that two decades have passed since the publication of Stephen Duncombe’s seminal text, Notes From
Underground, it is possible to take a landscape view of how and why zine scholars have studied zines in peer-
reviewed journal publications. Knowing how scholars have studied zines can teach us about how zines and
zine culture have contributed to academic knowledge. We can also learn which subjects are understudied
as zine scholars continue to investigate these curious ephemeral print objects. METHODS is study uses
citation analysis to uncover how scholars have explored zines and zine culture as objects worthy of academic
inquiry between the dates of 1990 and 2018. e purpose of this study is to examine whether (and how)
zines have held inuence as objects worthy of study over time, to determine which disciplines tend to treat
zines as a valuable academic pursuit, and to reveal what subtopics those scholars tend to focus on. RESULTS
& DISCUSSION is study analyzes 163 peer-reviewed articles published between 1990 and 2018, and nds
that a) scholarly interest in zines has increased steadily and by 1,700% over 28 years; b) that scholars in the
elds of Library Science, Education, Feminist Studies, and Media Studies are most likely to study zines; and
c) that zine scholars pursue a wide and varied range of subtopics most prominently concentrated in “riot grrrl”
studies, “collection development,” “music criticism,” and a suite of articles about aspects of art. More nuanced
analysis based on discipline and subtopic are discussed in the ndings. CONCLUSION is study makes clear
that zines are inuential and worthy objects of study, not just as a form of print media, but as educational
and pedagogical tools in the classroom, as evidence of activism, political movements, third-wave feminism,
cultural critiques, cultural movements, and much more. Future scholars may use this study to build upon
more established topics as well as those that are understudied.
© 2020 Hays. This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
RESEARCH
Received: 10/18/2019 Accepted: 03/13/2020
Correspondence: Anne Hays, Building 1L, Room 109E , 2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10314,
anne.hays@csi.cuny.edu
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IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
1. Libraries and archives that hold zine collections play an important role in zine scholarship
by making those collections available to scholars through librarian practices (cataloging,
nding aids, metadata, outreach, instruction, best practices documentation, etc).
2. e interdisciplinary nature of zine scholarship included in this study reveals complex
ways in which zine scholars might be approaching zine collections for scholarship and
educational practices.
3. e number of articles from the Education discipline (30, or 18%) speaks to the ways in
which instructional users (teachers, faculty) use zine collections. is has implications for
librarian partnerships and outreach with the educational community.
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
In 1997, Stephen Duncombe published Notes from Underground, a book generally recog-
nized as the rst prominent academic monograph1 exclusively devoted to the subject of
zines and zine culture. Since then, the book has been updated twice, other academics have
authored additional books, and hundreds of peer reviewed articles have used zines as a ve-
hicle for exploring aspects of humanity through cultural studies, biography studies, educa-
tion, feminism, and more. is study uses 1997 as a loose branching point to identify how
academics have analyzed zines in their scholarship over time and from which disciplines.
Using citation analysis as a methodology, this paper seeks to uncover patterns in publication
dates, disciplinary inquiries, avenues of research, and subtopics explored between 1990 and
2018. Who is writing about zines and why? How is the burgeoning topic of zine culture
research unfolding? By knowing how academics are addressing zines as a topic of research,
we can better understand what makes these ephemeral objects valuable to scholarly inquiry.
First, let’s dene what zines are and are not, in order to establish the parameters of what
scholarly works about zines encompass. In the midst of a chapter’s long denition of the
zine, including many caveats that zines intrinsically defy denition, Duncombe denes
zines as “noncommercial, nonprofessional, small-circulation magazines which their creators
produce, publish, and distribute by themselves” (2008, p. 10). Jenna Freedman, the zine li-
brarian at Barnard College Library, includes a list of characteristics in her denition of zines
in a blog post titled, “Zines Are Not Blogs: A Not Unbiased Analysis.” Freedman denes
1 Frederick Werthams e World of Fanzines, 1973, predates this publication by over 20 years, though
it’s rarely cited by zine scholars. Wertham analyzes science ction fanzines as objects of fascination and
peculiarity. As a psychologist, Wertham was concerned about their possible negative psychological
impact on unsuspecting readers. He ends up changing his mind, however, and nds them to be full of
amateur energy and a contrast to the mechanization and isolation of his time.
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zines as: self-published “and the publisher doesnt answer to anyone”; small print run; moti-
vated by self-expression rather than prot; outside the mainstream; and low budget, among
secondary characteristics. Freedman further denes zines in opposition to blogs, suggest-
ing that the online format itself is antithetical to print zine credo, an assertion this study
likewise employs by excluding articles about “e-zines” (Freedman 2005, n.p.). Duncombe’s
book addresses zines of all styles and genres, and identies a taxonomy, including: fanzines
(fan culture zines), science ction, music, sports, television and lm, political, personal,
scene, network, fringe culture, religious, vocational, and a nal category he calls “etc.” Just
as Duncombe analyzes zines of all genres in his text, this study includes articles about any
genre of zine. One of the main goals of this study is to identify the larger disciplinary focus
as well as the subtopics academics address when analyzing zines. To do this necessitates in-
cluding academic articles about any genre of zine.
Stephen Duncombes Notes from Underground is frequently cited (Google Scholar reports
963 citations as of January 2020) in books and articles about zines and alternative media,
and is often hailed a seminal academic text about zines in the articles included in this study.
As Megan Le Masurier commented in a 2012 article, “Stephen Duncombe’s Notes from Un-
derground (1997) is the touchstone for much of the scholarly work on zines in the past 15
years” (p. 387). As an author, Duncombe situated himself as an insider within radical sub-
cultures by publishing the rst edition with Verso, a radical publishing house in London,
and subsequent editions with Microcosm, a punk small-press publisher in the Portland
Oregon area that has grown from being a zine distro2 to a small-press publishing house of
DIY and radical titles. Stylistically, Duncombe’s book is fashioned to look more like a large
zine than an academic textbook—the 2008 version is square-shaped, lled with reproduced
images from zines, and uses what appears to be a throwback electric typewriter font. In his
introduction, Duncombe describes the breadth and scope of his inquiry as well as its style:
“Some might also nd the structure of this book unorthodox and perhaps unsettling.” After
describing his process, he concludes that the book, “mirrors the structure of zines them-
selves: at rst glance a bit fragmentary, but coming together inevitably to reveal a world,
provide an analysis, and make a point” (p. 20). And although his book is credited with be-
ing the seminal academic treatise on zines, Duncombe capitulates his academic allegiance
by rst identifying himself as a former zine creator and of the culture, and notes that “some
readers will no doubt be disappointed—while others, I’m sure, will be thrilled—that in the
pages that follow I engage more with the world of zines and less with the words of academ-
ics” (p. 19). Duncombe cites his sources, as any academic would, but his prose does not lean
2 A zine distro is a distributor of zines. Distros tend to accept submissions from zine authors, and take
a percentage of the prot for selling them on the authors behalf. Today, most distros sell their catalog
of zines through online stores. ey can be larger and more established operations like Microcosm, but
oen distros are run by one person selling zines from their apartment closet.
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on academic theories and instead relies on direct interviews, quotes from zines, and other
small press publications rather than critical analysis from academics. Subsequent academic
authors who cite Duncombe’s work, however, handily ll this gap.
Subsequent book-length academic works about zines start to appear in the following decade.
In 2004, the librarian Julie Bartel published a how-to book for library collection develop-
ment in the area of library zine collections, a book that arguably aids in the burgeoning zine
library phenomenon of the 2000’s and beyond (Hays, 2018 p. 61). In 2009, Alison Piep-
meier published the rst major full-length academic book focused on feminist zines with her
inuential Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism. In 2010, Teal Triggs published her
controversial book Fanzines: e DIY Revolution (controversial because she allegedly did not
secure reproduction rights from the zine authors whose work she included), which could
be described as an illustrated compendium, given that it is made up primarily of graphic
reproductions rather than academic analysis. A similar claim can be made of other book
length reproductions, such as Printed Matter’s 2008 Queer Zines volume 1 and 2, described
appropriately as exhibition catalogs. Aside from the front material, the bulk of the content is
made up of archival reproductions. Lisa Darmss 2013 e Riot Grrrl Collection is likewise a
(fabulous) book of reproductions. It includes introductions by Darms and Johanna Fateman,
followed by reproductions of original zines, letters, and documents from key members of the
riot grrrl movement from the Fales Library’s Riot Grrrl Collection.
Zines make a mention in plenty of books about feminist publication strategies, library ar-
chives, or DIY subcultures (in books like Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front: e True Story of
the Riot Grrrl Revolution from 2010, Amy Spencer’s DIY: e Rise of the Lo-Fi Culture from
2008, Alana Kumbier’s Ephemeral Material from 2009, and Chris Attons Alternative Media
from 2002, to name a few), but in these books zines provide an example of a larger phenom-
enon, and are not the sole focus of the work. Numerous academic books contain chapters
about zines, such as Barbara J. Guzzetti’s “Girl Zines as a Global Literacy Practice” from
Adolescent Literacies and the Gendered Self (2012), Janice Radway’s “Zines then and Now”
in From Codex to Hypertext (2012), or Liz Bly and Kelly Wooten’s edited book Make Your
Own History, which includes an introduction by the aforementioned Alison Piepmeier and
chapters about zines by Sarah Dyer, Jenna Freedman, Kate Eichhorn, Kelly Wooten, and
Jenna Brager with Jami Sailor, for example. ese texts in particular have the most in com-
mon with academic articles, but unfortunately due to logistical challenges in library database
search mechanisms, book chapters are outside the scope of this article. Furthermore, for both
simplicity’s sake and for the sake of adhering to “academic” publishing standards (whether
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those of us inside zine culture3 agree with them or not), this study is limited to reviewing
peer-reviewed academic articles.
Finally, non-academic books, such as Alex Wrekk’s 2002 Stolen Sharpie Revolution: A DIY Re-
source for Zines and Zine Culture, and R. Seth Friedman’s 1997 A Factsheet Five Zine Reader, to
name a couple, share helpful material to readers both within the culture and outside it. Each
of these books has value and merit, and contribute to the growing canon of works about zines
and zine culture, even though they are not full-length text-based academic monographs. To
locate the next truly book-length academic monograph devoted exclusively to zines, we have
to wait until Adele Licona’s Zines in the ird Space: Radical Cooperation and Borderlands
Rhetoric from 2012, followed by Kate Eichhorn’s An Archival Turn in Feminism from 2013
and Buchanan’s Writing a Riot: Riot Grrrl Zines and Feminist Rhetorics in 2018.
Many of the academic articles included in this study’s citation analysis commented on the
dearth of zine research, especially among the earlier articles. Jennifer Sinor’s 2003 article, a
relatively early entry in the landscape of articles about zines, remarked that, “Because while
these voices are powerful, they have largely remained unheard, at least within the academy
and particularly within the eld of life writing” (p. 242). A few years later, in 2008, Alison
Piepmeier attempted to make sense of these unheard voices in the academy by comment-
ing that, “Zines’ trashiness may, in part, explain the reluctance of literary and art scholars
to analyze them: zines revel in informality and threaten conventional boundaries” (p. 228).
Anna Poletti made a slightly more hopeful suggestion that academics may simply not know
about zines yet, in her 2008 article. “I believe it is how we, as scholars of life writing, come to
think about the zine once we know of its existence which will yield these insights” (2008b, p.
86). Poletti was appealing to biography scholars to discover zines, and indeed, in addition to
there being little academic work on zines in general, there was an even less dense penetration
of work done within any particular discipline at that time. Susan omas, writing an article
from an art librarians perspective, commented that “a review of the library literature yields
few articles about art zines in particular,” so she instead included a short handful of worthy
studies from other elds, including Piepmeier’s work in feminist studies and Duncombe’s in
media studies (2009, p. 30). is continued to be a trend (zine scholars looking outside their
specic discipline for inuential zine scholarship) until a greater density of academic publica-
tions emerged within any particular discipline. As this study shows, by the close of 2018, a
few disciplines have started to accrue a reasonably robust body of work to draw upon (library
science, education, and feminist studies).
3 Like Stephen Duncombe, I should acknowledge my own “insider” status as a zine author. I have written
zines since my high school days, and contemporary zines of mine are part of numerous zine library
collections, including Barnard Library, SUNY New Paltz, Sherwood Forest Zine Library, and others.
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By looking at the focus of these book-length works about zines, one can learn something
about the ways in which zine scholars make a case for the cultural impact and relevance of
zines. Four of the above-mentioned works focus on zines as a means of feminist cultural
production (Piepmeier, Licona, Buchanan, Eichhorn). As we will see from this paper’s anal-
ysis of scholarly article citations, many of the articles published about zines reproduce this
trend. Librarian literature, such as Bartel’s and Kumbier’s works, is another strong avenue
of inquiry in scholarly journal publications. By looking at 28 years of academic article cita-
tions, a far fuller picture emerges in terms of disciplinary interest in zines and the subtopics
they explore. e goal of this study is to gather and analyze citations for articles published in
peer-reviewed academic journals to see a fuller sense of how academic discourse has grown
and changed over time. If we hope to understand how these quirky publications, which
represent “hyper-democratic, ultra-creative, highly inclusive conversation that you’ll likely
not nd elsewhere” and which “directly reects the lives of its participants” merit scholarly
study, it becomes important to view the academic canon of zine scholarship from a more
complete lens than from monographs alone (Bartel, 2004, p. 34). By analyzing the pub-
lication dates, the disciplinary focus of the publishing journals, and the secondary topics
associated with academic zine articles, one can attempt to make sense of the lens and scope
through which scholars are engaging with zines and zine culture.
METHODOLOGY
e purpose of the study was to gather a reasonably complete picture of how many aca-
demic articles were published in scholarly journals about zines in a few years preceding and
the decades following Duncombe’s book. e secondary goals were to create a timeline
of publications by year, to see which disciplines tended to focus on zines as relevant and
scholarship-worthy, and to see what subtopics (zines themselves should be the primary
topic) academics write about.
Databases Consulted:
Because academics from a variety of disciplines write about zines, the database selection
needed to be wide and varied. Here is a list of databases included:
Academic Search Complete
Art Abstracts
Communications & Mass Media
Education Source
ERIC
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Historical Abstracts
Humanities Source
JSTOR
Library & Information Science Source
LGBTQ Life
PsychArticles
PsychInfo
SocIndex
Search Terms:
Because “zine” is a distinctive word, nding articles about zines is thankfully fairly straight-
forward. To reduce the number of articles about online publications or websites referred
to as “e-zines”, it became useful to ocially exclude “e-zine” from the search. Here are the
search terms that proved most fruitful:
(zine OR zines) NOT “e-zines”
e criteria for what constitutes an academic article primarily “about” zines followed these
guidelines:
The articles must be:
1. published in a peer-reviewed academic journal
2. include empirical and/or critical analysis; all book reviews, Q&A interviews, or
rst-person narratives were excluded
3. about print-format zines and not digital zines (e-zines)
4. primarily about zines; all articles primarily about a dierent topic that merely
mentioned zines as an example were excluded
5. to establish this based on search results, articles had to mention zines in either the
title, the abstract, or subject terms (metadata)
6. additionally, the researcher read any questionable articles to fully establish inclusion
criteria
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Establishing Disciplines:
e study seeks to ascertain which disciplines academics are writing from in an attempt
to capture the value of zines as an academic subject. Taken on their most basic merits—as
printed texts self-published by individuals in ways that both mimic and reject mainstream
publishing aesthetics—one might assume that Media Studies would be the obvious disci-
pline to interrogate the format of zines. In fact, scholars from elds as far ranging as Educa-
tion, Art History, and Linguistics have studied zines as (for example) learning tools in the
composition classroom, as a punk second-cousin to Artists’ Books, or as rhetorical modalities
for disrupting identity politics (enter Sociology, Psychology, and Political Science). ese are
mere examples; the full range of topics and subtopics discussed in articles about zines proved
dazzling as well as challenging to categorize. e disciplines could only be categorized after
collecting the zine citations, and were determined based on:
1. which database the article was indexed in—keeping in mind that most of the articles
were indexed in more than one database because of the inherently interdisciplinary
nature of zines-as-subject
2. the discipline of the journal—keeping in mind that many of the journals represented
are interdisciplinary in nature
3. the subject terms associated with the article
4. additionally, the researcher read any questionable multidisciplinary articles to select
a single, dominant discipline
Note: For readability, disciplines will be capitalized, while subtopics will remain undercase but
in quotation marks.
Establishing Subtopics
Creating coherent subtopics for these articles was more challenging than establishing dis-
cipline, given that “subjects” for articles are inherently less institutionally established than
academic disciplines. Individual databases, even those in the EBSCO family, each have their
separately established thesauri (some use “descriptors” while others use “subject terms”; in
any case they each use dierent controlled language in their metadata). Additionally, the
database-supplied subject terms were generally unhelpful for this particular project. Most
articles used obvious subject terms like “zines,” for instance, whereas this study requires more
nuanced descriptors in order to delineate what aspect of zines the researcher focused on.
Unsurprisingly, the more interdisciplinary the topic, the more nuanced these “subtopic” de-
scriptors needed to be. As an example: Dan Fraizers “Zines in the Composition Classroom,
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published in Teaching English in the Two-Year Classroom, can readily be categorized under
“Education” as the discipline, and “composition” as the subtopic. A slightly more challenging
example: Rosenberg and Garofalos “Riot Grrrl: Revolutions from Within,” published in the
feminist journal Signs, reveals the need for “outside the box” subtopics. Because so many of
the articles published between 1990 and 2018 were about how the women who participated
in the riot grrrl movement used zines as a medium to communicate third-wave feminist
ideologies, the researcher categorized this article under Feminist Studies as a discipline and
“riot grrrl” as the subtopic. It should be noted that this study uses Feminist Studies instead
of the more common Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) because articles about
LGBQ identity issues tended to be discussed from a solidly Sociological or Psychological
perspective. is is not surprising, given that WGSS is in itself an interdisciplinary subject
which overlaps with sociology, anthropology, history, English, and many other elds. For the
purposes of this study, Feminist Studies is used only for those articles explicitly concerned
with feminism and girlhood, rather than encompassing sexuality or transgender identities.
Sexuality and gender identity are also treated as separate subtopics (“LGBQ” for articles deal-
ing with sexuality; “transgender” for articles dealing with transgender identity).
Because so many of these articles are interdisciplinary in nature, categorizing them using
only two types of metadata proved challenging in many cases. Because it would unnecessarily
complicate the study to categorize articles using more than one subtopic, or more than one
discipline, it simply became part of the analytic process to identify the single term that best
describes the article. In some cases, it made sense to compact two initially separate topics into
one in order to clarify the subtopic’s impact. For instance, “activism” was incorporated into
“political movements” as a term to capture articles explicitly concerned with zines as a modal-
ity for political action. However “riot grrrl” is separated out as its own category rather than
included under “political movements,” because there were enough citations to warrant this
distinction. Hopefully this discussion makes clear the level of thoughtfulness and specicity
required when categorizing the articles.
Limitations:
Because, as mentioned above, database thesauri did not provide useful metadata for assign-
ing subtopics to these articles, I coded subtopics for the articles as carefully as possible based
on the above-mentioned criteria. It should be noted that it would be possible for another
researcher to code these same articles under slightly dierent terms, or make dierent cod-
ing decisions which would appear to aect the outcome of the results.
For practical reasons, this study excludes book chapters from this citation analysis of aca-
demic articles about zines and zine culture. Book chapters are poorly indexed in the data-
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bases listed above, which unfortunately made it impractical to attempt an inclusive review.
Future research will need to ll this gap.
TRENDS IN SCHOLARSHIP ABOUT ZINES
Overall Trends: Rise in article publications by year
Figure 1. Number of Articles Published by Year
is study tracked article publications beginning in 1990, because this is when articles
about zines started to appear with any consistency, though when extended back to 1980,
one nds a 1982 and 1983 publication as well. As anticipated, the number of articles
steadily rises from 4 in 1995, just before Duncombe’s book publication, to 18 in each of the
past two years, which represents a 1,700% increase. ere are two noteworthy aspects to the
steadiness of the rise in academic interest in zines:
1. there has not been a singular climactic moment, nor a subsequent diminishing—
the number has gone incrementally and consistently up, and,
2. while the timeframe could be considered “recent” in the course of human history,
it’s also too long a timespan to ignore. ese ndings show a building increase
in scholarly interest in zines for the past twenty-eight years that shows no sign of
slowing down. Indeed, zine scholarship appears to be gaining momentum.
Trends by Discipline: Library Science, Feminist Studies, Education, and Media Studies
e most dominant trends by discipline were library science, feminist studies, education,
and media studies. e dominant number of articles from Library Science speaks to the fact
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that libraries started collecting zines as a resource (the rst major book about zine library
collections hails from 2004, From A to Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in Your
Library, by Julie Bartel). e next section will go into subtopics in greater detail, but 12 of
the 40 articles within Library Science discussed how to collect zines, and most of those were
case study descriptions of new collections. Other topics included zines as serials (4 articles),
zines in archival collections (4 articles), how to catalog zines (4 articles), and zines in art
libraries (7 articles). e representation on the topic of art libraries could be unusually high
due to a special issue of Art Libraries journal dedicated to zines in 2018. Nonetheless, while
these are distinct aspects of librarianship, their interests overlap more often than not—an
article discussing the creation of a zine archive could easily speak to multiple “subtopics”
such as zines as serials, collection development, or archival issues in the course of a single
article. Librarian subtopics with fewer hits might be equally intriguing: an article about
micro-aggressions in librarianship told through a library’s collection of POC zines (zines
authored by People of Color), for instance, is one such example (Arroyo-Ramirez, 2018).
Figure 2. Number of Articles by Discipline
A group of zine librarians in the United States created a group website, zinelibraries.info,
in 2007. is group also hosts a listserv, a blog, annual “unconferences,” a Code of Ethics
for zine library collections, and are in the process of establishing authorized cataloging and
metadata specic to zines. As of January 2020, one can search the contents of ve collabo-
rating zine libraries’ holdings (browse.zinecat.org). While it is outside the scope of this ar-
ticle to prove an absolute correlation between the production of academic knowledge about
zines and zine culture because these zine collections exist, it logically follows that academic
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authors from other disciplines would have an easier time locating and studying zines from
institutionally managed zine collections, rather than authors relying on their own personal
zine collections for evidence. Figure 1 does indicate an increase in article writing in the years
following 2007 (but the number increases fairly steadily before 2007 as well). It is undeni-
ably true, however, that zine librarians advocate for the value of zines in both academic and
public spheres, and assist both academics and the general public work with zines through
reference, instruction, cataloging eorts, and other forms of advocacy.
e second largest discipline represented was Feminist Studies, with 35 articles overall.
irteen of these discussed the riot grrrl movement’s use of zines as a medium to express
third-wave feminist ideologies. Other feminist articles discussed how women (not identi-
ed as grrrls) use the materiality of the zine to embody feminist theories (3 articles), or use
the zine as a mode of expression and rhetorical advantage (3 articles), or to address inter-
sectional identities, such as LGBQ (2 articles) or transgender identities (2 articles) from
a feminist perspective. Feminist studies is inherently interdisciplinary, so it should not be
surprising that a few articles overlapped with education and could have gone in either camp
(their placement in these cases depended on the journal). For instance: Kimberly Creasap’s
“Zine-Making as Feminist Pedagogy,” which appears in Feminist Teacher, and which ad-
dresses using zines as a pedagogical tool to help students connect to feminist theory in the
classroom. e point here is that even articles that are categorized in Education may still be
addressing aspects of zine production as third-wave feminist theory.
is study makes clear that educators have a strong interest in exploring zines as a tool for
Education, with 30 articles. e most common subtopics in education were composition,
with 6 articles (see Amy Wan’s “Not Just for Kids Anymore: Using Zines in the Classroom”)
and as a tool for student literacy, also with 6 articles. While articles exploring composition
and literacy often (but not always) included examples of students creating zines to increase
their writing skills, the rest of the articles tended to use zines as resources, as in articles about
math education (1 article), art education (5 articles), pedagogy (2 articles), political move-
ments (2 articles), and social justice (1 article). It is worth repeating that, though beyond
the scope of this paper, educators may have gained interest in using zines in the composi-
tion classroom after being made aware of zine library collections or through work with zine
librarians.
Given that zines are a form of media, the fact that media studies accounted for the fewest
number of articles among the top disciplines could be surprising. e articles that fell under
media studies tended to be traditionally media studies topics, like “music criticism” with 9
articles, comic zines (2 articles), lm studies (1) or journalism (1). But like the other disci-
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plines already mentioned, scholars publishing in media studies journals also addressed in-
terdisciplinary issues, like how LGBQ writers use the media to discuss sexuality (2 articles),
or how zine authors manipulate the media as a rhetorical device (2 articles).
e common thread in all disciplines is that while some subtopics intrinsically fall under a
classically disciplinary heading, the way “collection development” is an inherently librarian
domain, every disciplinary category also included interdisciplinary subtopics. is speaks to
the complex and varied ways in which zine scholars write about zines.
Trends in Sub-Topic: riot grrrl, collection development, and nuanced intersection
articulations
e most intriguing consequence of further categorizing by subtopic is how many dierent
recognizable subtopics emerged. As mentioned in the methodology section, the researcher
looked for patterns and tried to pair articles with existing subtopic categories, rather than cre-
ate new ones, and yet 57 distinct subtopics nonetheless emerged. Scholars who write about
zines approach them from a wide range of unique focal points, ranging from “abortion” to
“youth.” As one can see from Figure 3 below, the most popular subtopics for scholarly articles
were “riot grrrl” with 17 articles, “collection development” (primarily from the Library Sci-
ence discipline) with 13, and “music criticism” and “communication & rhetoric” with 8 each.
Figure 3. Number of Articles by Subtopic
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At rst glance, “riot grrrl” and “music criticism” could appear to be the same topic, but they
are not in important ways. Articles categorized in the “music criticism” subtopic were about
other genres of music zines, such as punk music zines, or zines about rap music (Forman,
1995), doowop music (Pruter, 1997), or progressive rock (Atton, 2001). Representative
journals from the “music criticism” subtopic were likewise dierent from those in the “riot
grrrl” category; an example journal of each, respectively, is Punk & Post Punk versus the
prominent feminist journal Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. “Riot grrrl” was
such a popular subtopic it demanded its own category, separate from other genres of music.
In terms of the disciplines with articles about riot grrrl, the most common was Feminist
Studies, with 13 of the 17 articles; other representative disciplines included Education with
2 (using riot grrrl zines to teach feminist pedagogy), Library Science with 1 (riot grrrl zines
in the library), and History with 1 (history of riot grrrl).
“Communication & rhetoric” could likewise intersect with the “riot grrrl” subtopic, given
that a few articles address zines as a vehicle for a style of communication and/or the use of
rhetoric to push a political agenda. However, the zines in the “communication” category
were not specically about riot grrrl, such as Adela Licona’s “(B)Orderlands’ Rhetorics and
Representations: e Transformative Potential of Feminist ird-Space Scholarship and
Zines,” which looks at rhetorical moves used in feminist publications that are not associ-
ated with the riot grrrl movement. Another example would be Anna Poletti’s “Where the
Popular Meets the Mundane: e Use of Lists in Personal Zines,” which zeroes in on the
preponderance of list-making in personal zines as a form of communication. Other slightly
similar, but ultimately dierent subtopics include ethnography (4 articles), and biography
studies (4 articles). While “communication/rhetoric” articles tended to analyze how one
expresses one’s realized sense of self, ethnographic zines approached identity issues and an
analysis of the culture through the self (see Stanleys “Writing the PhD Journey(s): An Au-
toethnography of Zine-Writing, Angst, Embodiment, and Backpacker Travels” in Journal of
Contemporary Ethnography), while biography studies approached the zine as a way for the
reader to understand the other (Poletti’s “Self-Publishing in the Global and Local: Situating
Life Writing in Zines” in Biography). Additionally, biography studies articles tended to ap-
proach the concept of the self from a literary disciplinary point of view, rather than from a
culture studies angle or linguistic angle.
As a subtopic, “Political movements” could equally have intersected with “riot grrrl,” except
that the focus of these articles tended to reside in how a variety of activists use zines to
either reect or inspire political activism. Take, for instance, Sheila Liming’s “Of Anarchy
and Amateurism: Zine Publication and Print Dissent,” or Jen and Carly Bagelman’s “Zines:
Crafting Change and Repurposing the Neoliberal University.” A few articles in this sub-
topic do address feminist concerns, but not specically riot grrrl, as per Zobl’s “Cultural
Hays | A Citation Analysis about Scholarship on Zines
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Production, Transnational Networking, and Critical Reection in Feminist Zines” pub-
lished in Signs. Despite these nuances, it is certainly noteworthy how many articles discuss
feminism through zine-making, whether those zines are situated in the riot grrrl movement
or outside it.
It’s worth noting overall that these subtopics did not correlate perfectly with the academic
disciplines articulated in the previous section. e most diverse subtopic in terms of disci-
pline proved to be “LGBQ identity” with 1 article from Art & Art History, 1 from Asian
Studies, 2 from Feminist Studies, 2 from Media Studies, 1 from Psychology, and 1 from
Sociology. Some would describe LGBQ issues as residing solidly in the Social Sciences, but
when it comes to scholarship about zines, scholars clearly approach LGBQ issues from a far
wider range of disciplines. An additional 2 articles about transgender zines were published
in Feminist Studies journals.
Finally, there are a collection of articles focusing on zines as vehicles for art: 3 about “art
criticism,” 6 about “art education,” 7 about “art libraries,” and 1 about “art therapy” (and
using zines in nursing homes!). Taken together, 17 articles are about some aspect of art in
zines, which rivals “riot grrrl” in popularity, and which is striking, especially because zines
represent an uncommon vehicle for the art world. (For that matter, artists books, a far more
mainstream genre than artists zines, are themselves an uncommon vehicle for art, compared
to painting or photography.)
CONCLUSION
is citation analysis of 163 scholarly article publications between 1990 and 2018 reveals
numerous ndings of interest to future scholars of zines. Publications have steadily risen
in rate from 1 per year in both 1990 and 1991 to 18 per year in 2017 and 2018. While
scholars from a total of 12 distinct disciplines authored articles about zines, the most heav-
ily concentrated disciplines of scholarship hailed from four distinct elds: Library Science,
Feminist Studies, Education, and Media Studies. When drilling down to the subtopic of
these articles about zines, one nds an even greater plethora of topics of interest—57 dis-
tinct subtopics emerged, ranging from “abortion” to “youth.” e highest concentrations of
subtopics included “riot grrrl,” “library collection development,” “music criticism,” “LGBQ
identity,” “communication & rhetoric,” and a suite of articles about aspects of art. ese
conclusions reveal both the continued inuence of zines and zine culture over academic
scholarship, and also the extraordinary range of cross- and interdisciplinary interest zines
hold over the academic imagination. Zine scholars may use this study to bolster arguments
over the value of future zine studies. Zine librarians might use this study to argue the need
for additional resources to support zine collections. Zines are inuential and worthy objects
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of study not just as a form of print media (as one might expect) but as educational and
pedagogical tools in the classroom, as evidence of activism, political movements, third-
wave feminism, cultural critiques, and cultural movements. Zines have value to scholars as
articulations of identity—in the formulation of LGBQ, transgender, POC, feminist, and
riot grrrl identities—and as articulations of the self—in the cases of personal biographies,
ethnographic studies, linguistic analyses, and rhetorical expressions of identity formulation.
Some of the lesser-studied topics that emerged may prove equally important to future zine
scholars as examples of topics to be more fully explored: fashion, labor movements, HIV/
AIDS narratives, lm studies, math education, science ction, and sports, to name a few.
is study can reveal topics scholars have pursued in the past when thinking about zines,
but also reveal work to be done.
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APPENDIX A
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APPENDIX B
Trends in Subtopic by Discipline
Art & Art History Art Criticism (3), Creative Writing (1), Design (1), Fashion (1), LGBQ Iden-
tity (1)
Asian Studies LGBQ Identity (1)
Communications HIV/AIDS (1)
Feminist & Gender
Studies
Riot Grrrl (13), Communications/Rhetoric (3), Print Culture (3), Body Issues
(2), LGBQ Identity (2), Political Movements (2), Transgender Identity (2),
Abortion (1), Art Education (1), Biography Studies (1), Collection Develop-
ment (1), Labor (1), Literacy (1), Social Justice (1), Youth (1)
Education Composition (6), Literacy (6), Art Ed (5), Pedagogy (2), Political Movements
(2), Riot Grrrl (2), Alternative Ed (1), Creative Writing (1), English Educa-
tion (1), Math Education (1), Science Ed (1), Social Justice (1), Social Work
Ed (1)
History Archives (1), Family (1), Music Criticism (1), Riot Grrrl (1)
Language & Litera-
ture
Biography Studies (3), Communications/Rhetoric (2), Political Movements
(2), Creative Writing (1), Pedagogy (1), Science Fiction (1), Youth (1)
Library Science Collection Development (12), Art Libraries (7), Archives (4), Cataloging (4),
Serials (4), Academic Libraries (1), Access Services (1), Ethnography (1),
Instruction (1), POC Identity (1), Research (1), Riot Grrrl (1), Science Fiction
(1), Urban Libraries (1)
Linguistics Ethnography (1), Science Fiction (1), Youth (1)
Media Studies Music Criticism (9), Comics (2), Communications/Rhetoric (2), LGBQ Iden-
tity (2), Film Studies (1), HIV/AIDS (1), Journalism (1), POC Identity (1),
Print Culture (1), Sports (1)
Political Science Labor (1), Social Justice (1)
Public Health Art Therapy (1), Social Work (1)
Psychology Ethnography (1), LGBQ Identity (1)
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... which emphasizes subjective and personal data displays. While zines may be seen as ephemeral, their transience pales in comparison to that of digital graphics [31], with zines filling archives reaching back to the 1960s [24]. Despite these desirable properties, there has been little consideration of zines as a place for visualization attention. ...
... Zines are commonly identified as originating with science-fiction fanzines in the 1930s, followed by co-development with punk-rock culture in the 1970s, and subsequently riot grrrl culture in the early 1990s [15]. They have only become objects of academic focus in the last 30 years, although that interest has steadily increased [24]. A peer-reviewed journal focused on zines published its first issue in 2020 [58]. ...
... While there are some zines explicitly about visualization, we do not seek to insert a notion of visualization zine into Duncombe's taxonomy (or to Segel and Heer's narrative visualization genres [42]) as such a structure would have unusefully porous boundariesreflecting the amorphous nature of zines themselves [47]. What makes zines worthy of study in visualization is not their potential for a single mode of expression, but instead the tensions of an ambiguously-defined often-physical medium that has a tradition of personal rhetoric, which is sometimes understood to be cheap [24] and is accessible to marginalized voices [20,28]. Zine's accessibility helps Surface Other Voices that might not normally find a venue for their perspectives. ...
Preprint
Zines are a form of small-circulation self-produced publication often akin to a magazine. This free-form medium has a long history and has been used as means for personal or intimate expression, as a way for marginalized people to describe issues that are important to them, and as a venue for graphical experimentation. It would seem then that zines would make an ideal vehicle for the recent interest in applying feminist or humanist ideas to visualization. Yet, there has been little work combining visualization and zines. In this paper we explore the potential of this intersection by analyzing examples of zines that use data graphics and by describing the pedagogical value that they can have in a visualization classroom. In doing so, we argue that there are plentiful opportunities for visualization research and practice in this rich intersectional-medium.
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Full-text available
Zines have begun to gain a place in higher education as pedagogical tools studied or made by students, and many academic libraries maintain zine collections. The library literature reveals little about how nonlibrarian faculty use zines in their classrooms. This paper describes the results of a survey of faculty from a range of academic disciplines and professions who teach with zines and other booklet forms. Survey results reveal the extent to which faculty zine pedagogies include collaboration with librarians and use of library collections. Faculty describe instructional activities and attitudes that many library professionals, including reference and instruction librarians, directors or deans, catalogers, acquisition and special collections librarians, and archivists, may find useful.
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Since its inception in March 2014, the LIS Microaggressions project (www.lismicroaggressions.com) has grown as an online source and zine publication for library and information science (LIS) workers from marginalized communities to share their experiences with microaggressions in the workplace. This article will examine the project’s efforts to move conversations on diversity, race, racism, and antiracism in the LIS field to transgressive and actionable steps. Through conference presentations, zine-making workshops, and distribution of zines at LIS conferences, the LIS Microaggressions collective wishes to “call in” or otherwise actively engage the LIS profession for critical reflection and analysis about microaggressions in the workplace with the ultimate goal of fostering support and a participatory community for library workers dealing with microaggressions.
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From 2012 to 2015, against the otherwise-conservative backdrop of a small city in Southern Alberta, a group of young feminists, activists, and queers organized around the small publication, Fourth Wave Freaks. Drawing from an interview with the zine's creator, Kristin Krein, and the author's own memories of participation in the zine's culture, Jorgensen-Skakum argues that Fourth Wave Freaks established what Alison Piepmeier calls an “embodied community”-a web of connections informed by pleasure and materiality. In addition to analyzing the content of Fourth Wave Freaks, Jorgensen-Skakum pays close attention to the zine release parties, which physically enacted the community-based orientation of the zine by creating an embodied, alternative gathering place for readers and contributors. It was through this embodied community that the publication made it possible for zine participants to explore sexuality, gender, and performance in imaginative and political ways.
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On our frigid first day of class, one week after donald trump's inauguration, my coteacher, christa donner, and I began our course Community Zine Projects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with the question, Why zines now? In this era of blogs and Twitter , these tiny-edition handmade paper publications might seem irrelevant. So why take this class? The answers offered by this group of undergraduate and graduate student artists, writers, scholars, and educators were inspiring.
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The London College of Communication (LCC) Zine Collection was founded in July 2009 and now contains more than 4,000 zines. It is the most heavily used special collection at LCC Library. This article outlines the history and development of the collection, its uses in teaching, learning and research, and its value for widening access to, and representing diversity in an academic library environment.
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What is the importance of a zines collection to a contemporary visual arts library? What is their significance as research resources? This article explores the Stuart Hall Library zines collection, its history, management and use, and its role the context of the wider collection. It examines the collection's strengths and areas for development, including cataloguing and visibility. Key titles in the collection are described, and some of the themes and subjects covered. Local working practices and zine related activities are also discussed.