Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
May 3, 2024
Zines are extremely versatile and shapeshifter across various historical and cultural contexts. The term covers a wide range of objects with different aesthetic and material qualities as well as contexts of production and reception: Zines accommodate the collective concerns of fans and activists (zintivism) and the personal voice of the diarist and letter writer. Since the rise of digital media, zines and their aesthetics have become portable: Digitised and digital zines exist alongside blogs, social media, podcasts, and substacks, which seem to exhibit zine-y tendencies, while digital infrastructures have changed the way that print zines are produced, distributed, and archived.
At the same time, print media, including zines, have seen a revival and postdigital reinvention, not the least as a paper-based escape from screens. In this new constellation, we propose to revisit questions like: Where does the zine begin and end and how have its meanings changed for readers, collectors, and makers? How can contemporary developments of the zine (like the wave of quaranzines) change our understanding of its meaning, genealogy, and archive? And what, and where, are zines now?
This symposium suggests considering these questions through the lens of
- shelving – the zine at home, on the shelves of libraries, archives, and collectors, its repurposing and disassembling, its neglect as ephemera as well as remediation through reprints and staging in exhibitions, coffee table books, etc.
- and ‘selfing’ – the zine as a tool in making identities and ‘working on the self,’ as a ‘third space’ for new subjectivities, as ‘sticky’ with affects, as the glue of communal belonging (local/transnational), as resource for ‘subcultural capital’ and distinction, and as conduit for relationships and activism.
We especially welcome papers that propose theoretical approaches which attend to the materiality of zines and zine production and consider the printed zine as only one form of zine media. We are interested in new approaches to zines as well as in investigations of media and objects that borrow from, reference, mimic, disguise as, or are influenced by the zine – that are in some way zine-y and take the format, aesthetics, tone, and/or affect beyond paper.
Please send an abstract (ca. 300 words) + a short biography to
by December 31, 2023.
This symposium is designed as a friendly space for established and emerging scholars to share and discuss ideas. We also encourage practitioners to apply and are happy to accommodate non-academic formats of presentation.
Sabina Fazli, Obama Institute, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
Miloš Hroch, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic