Tagged with qzap

(un)intentional community: queer zines in an institutional context


Kelly Shortandqueer

Chris Wilde

Laura Wynholds




Zines are important in archives for a number of reasons. First of all, they represent an important primary source of information for future historians. They usually come from subcultures that are poorly documented in the larger culture. Furthermore, unlike the traditional print media, they represent an unmediated rendition of people's experiences in a particular place and time distributed to a significant (albeit small) audience. Secondly, in a time when writing communities are increasingly digital ( e.g. blogs, myspace, facebook), the print culture of the zine world is unique in its sociology. People make zines, trade them with others, write letters, and meet other like minded people. The zine genre is almost as well known for its creation of community as it is for its contribution of physical documents.

Within the context of lgbt archives, the theme of building community is an important one. However, the traditional method of cataloging and housing zines (as monographs or serials) does little to preserve the context out of which the documents were created. Despite this, the culture of community still plays an important role and overlaps into archives preserving zines. This panel will present the views of queer zine collecting in academic as well as non-traditional archives and libraries. We will discuss the ways that the diy zine communities overlap into these collections, as well as the ways the larger parent institution shapes the type of community involvement.