3: Zine

Assignment #3: Intersectional Identities and Art Activisms: Zine [click this link to download a copy of the assignment


1) each team comes up with one zine prototype that includes 6-8 artistic elements. This is a creative element and should be fun!
2) each team creates a 1-2 page description of your zine. Think of this as an extended caption (like the captions you read during your museum visits!) that accompanies this work of activist art and incorporates your critical engagement with your reading and research.

3) each person in the team will individually analyze their own intersectional identity in about 3 pages of writing. Even though this statement is about your identity, you should critically engage with your classmates and team members to gain an understanding of your location (inside the matrix of domination) in relation to others. Intersectionality is always relational! Each team member will do theirs individually and simply stack them together as a team collection.

In other words: The artistic/activist component of this experience set is to make a zine! This 2-4 person team project will be presented poster-style to the entire class. EVERYONE must be present and participate in the team presentation of these in the Tuesday lecture 14 November. During the session, you will engage with the projects of other teams as well. This assignment is worth ⅓ of your course grade, and the study of intersectionality is the most important part. All components are due to your TA in hard copy at the end of lecture on Tuesday, November 17th.

The purpose of this assignment is to experience, understand, analyze, and produce a creative work on intersectionality. Your team of 2-4 students will create a zine that addresses a political issue as well as explores how feminists grapple with intersectionality personally and collectively. You will share your analysis and art activist project in a “festival” poster session with others in a curatorial format of your choice, appropriate to share with others in a station of work from your team.

You will find feminist zine inspirations in two of our recommended books, The Bedside Companion by the Guerrilla Girls, and Capitalism Must Die! by McMillan, as well as in all the work of Alison Bechdel! Don't forget the hard copies of zines in the Women’s Studies Multimedia Lab! Check out in the UMD library: Girl Zines (Alison Piepmeier and Andi Zeisler), A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings from the Girl Zine Revolution (Ed. Green & Taromino) and The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order (Eichhorn). Also look online at:

http://www.feminist.org/research/zines.html (full magazines, longer publications)

What is so cool about zines?

In contrast to magazines, zines are small-circulation, independently published texts often connected with punk, third wave feminist, and DIY cultural movements. They allow unheard individuals and collectives to produce and circulate art and writing that resonates with their political investments in contrast to traditional, capitalist modes of publishing.


1. Team artistic component:

A.      Create a zine on the theme of intersectionality (either a print and crafty version or an “ezine” on a website such as tumblr). If you choose to do an ezine, you must also have some kind of hard copy (poster, artwork, etc) for the team-presentation session. You may have your laptop or tablet to showcase your electronic work in a presentation station, but you will not be able to display this work on the overhead projectors. We encourage you to draw on the stories from Octavia’s Brood for inspiration!
B.      The Zine must include multiple content forms. This means your publication should include 6-8 components produced by team members, such as: fiction, photography, comic strips, visual art, sculpture, crafts, video art, dance, music, poetry, collage, word cloud, song lyrics, diorama, or anything else that lets you be creative!
C.      Note that the zine should focus primarily on larger structures of power and oppression, as well as on any personal experiences.

2. Writing components:
A.    As a team, collectively write a 1-2 page “caption” for your zine. What should readers know about the intent behind your illustrations, writing, and artistic elements generally? What does each element add to the zine as a whole? How does the zine actively work to illustrate the matrix of domination? How does your zine demonstrate feminists grappling with intersectionality as a process?
B.    As a team, compile a paper that speaks to your team’s intersectional identities. Briefly interview or have a conversation with your partners about their intersectional identities, and then individually write a 3-page "analysis of everyday life." Each team member’s 3 pages will stake together as the team collective paper.  You should think critically about your own lived realities, as well as make a substantive comparison to your partners’ experiences. This is an analytic analysis in which you come up with a conceptual map for where you see power located in your own everyday life.

      1. Deconstruct marked/unmarked categories (rather than just acknowledging privilege). More about these in class!!
      1. Observe how power moves and shifts through your everyday life

Use both the notions of power as, on the one hand, choices, influence, optimism but especially privilege, and on the other hand, as constraint, limits, necessity, but especially oppression. YOU MUST DISCUSS THE MATRIX OF OPPRESSION IN WHICH YOU ARE LOCATED: BOTH YOUR OWN PRIVILEGE AND YOUR OWN OPPRESSION. This is not about analyzing your blessings and being thankful for them, even though such examination can matter, but about something perhaps more uncomfortable and less often thought about: how your privileges are unearned and the effects of a system in which others are oppressed. This is not about blame and guilt, but about being curious and concerned about what it takes to understand this honestly, and as a prelude to addressing issues of social justice very broadly. Think about ways that agency is constricted, made available, and reclaimed from both privileged and oppressed positionalities.

Thinking of yourself in terms of the intersectional categories you embody is an example of a conceptual map. Other examples of conceptual maps are bell hooks’ “railroad tracks” story, identity as a “roundabout,” etc.

3) Make connections with at least two course texts:
From our Required texts:
=Octavia’s Brood or a work by Octavia Butler (such as The Parable of the Sower). You can use this text as examples of storytelling. Zines are similarly a form of storytelling.
=Fun Home, The Indelible Alison Bechdel, Dykes to Watch Out For or any other work by Alison Bechdel 
Additional accompanying texts:
=Guerilla Girls’ Bedside Companion
=Capitalism Must Die! - Stephanie McMillan
=That of other graphic artists like Marguerite Abouet and Gene Luen Yang.


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