A Feminist Survival Guide to Seattle
When: Thursday, May 14th, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Where: UW Campus, Student Union Building (HUB), Room 145
Drawing on recently established zine archives and oral history interviews with former girl zine producers as well as with zine librarians, archivists, and commentators, Janice Radway explores 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, Radway raises questions about how to think about the recent history of feminism and its relationship to other “new social movements” at a time of significant economic, political, and technological change.
Janice Radway (Northwestern University) is Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication Studies and Professor of American studies and gender studies. 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.