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The Perzine Is Political: Critical Thinking with Casual Texts

This is the detailed syllabus for Jenna Freedman's Pre-College Program class at Barnard College, held in the summer of 2023.

Monday: Zinester Identities

page from Evolution of a Race Riot (follow link)Joy (9:30-9:45)

Read zines by minoritized creators (9:45-10:45)

  • why might zines appeal or not appeal to people holding minoritized identities?
  • what did you relate to (or not) in the zines you read?
  • when did you first see someone who had similar experiences, background, culture, and looks as you in media?
  • how did the identities of the zine creators impact their work?

Break (10:45-11)

Read Piepmeier Intersectional Identities from Girl Zines (11-12)

  • do critiques of whiteness "fracture the feminist facade," destabilize it? consider "Now the white girls --which meant a majority of the people there -- were being told that they were the oppressors as well." and their"clear discomfiture with the prospect of their complicity" and the "violence" of deferral
  • we criticize because we care
  • what does it mean to center marginality?

Check in about Wednesday homework

  • Reflect in writing/art about how your identities inform your work
  • read Evolution of a Race Riot
  • Kate Eichhorn on Wednesday

Tuesday: No Class

Baby You're a Firework zine gifRead and react to Evolution of a Race Riot & readings

Gif from Baby You're a Firework zine by Jing Yu

Wednesday: Researching Is Political

photo of Kate Eichhorn holding a sign that says "Ethnographer: I'm here to observe you ovserving while under observation"Joy (9:30-9:45)

Special Guest Kate Eichhorn!!! (9:45-10:45)

Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at the New School Lang College

Author (books only)

Break (10:45-11)

More on critical research TBD (11-12)


Read Zine Librarians Code of Ethics zine

Thursday: The Library Catalog Is Political

cover of zine librarians code of ethicsJoy (9:30-9:45)

Discuss genre zines (9:45-10:45)

Break (10:45-11)

Discuss Zine Librarians Code of Ethics (11-11:45)

Final project (11:45-12)

  • minimum of three 8.5x11 pieces of paper folded however you wish
  • the zine can be on a topic of your choosing
  • feel welcome to respond to a prompt from A Zine Idea for Each Like zine or a SCOTUS decision
  • the zine should include a variety of
    • self-reflection
    • engagement with the texts we read in class
    • reference or inspiration from a zine you read in or outside of class
    • risk-taking/bravery
    • love and rage
    • visual elements
    • see the Zine Elements page for more suggestions
    • ethical use of sources

Catalog searches, catalog one of your own zines, discuss (homework)

Read "Why Zines Matter" for homework

Design Center logo, with letters fashioned out of toolsField trip to the Design Center

  • safety training
  • intro sessions
  • play time