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Zines at NVC: Teaching with Zines

Why teach with zines?

"Zines...challenge the easily digestible mainstream media. They can open students' eyes to other outlets for information, showing alternate sources and forcing students to see how the accessible information that is often just taken for fact also has origins and agendas." - Amy Wan, "Not Just for Kids Anymore: Using Zines in the Classroom."

Zines and other alternative and underground publications can be used as teaching tools for learners from kindegarten to college. There are zines on just about any topic you can think of, from feminism to sports to politics to cooking.  Let students explore zines and their history, and you can teach just about anything, including: English Language Arts, Media Literacy, Art, Social Science and History and even Math and Science!

Teaching with Zines

Here are some reasons why zines should be considered in student research:

1. Zines are primary sources.

2. Zines are written by underrepresented and oppressed voices. These are the voices oftentimes missing from standard scholarly resources.  Alternative way to share perspectives that are left out of main stream media and publications.

3. Zines humanize our research. When students read zines on their topics, they get to really hear the methodologies section that they mostly skip over.

4. Zines allow students to really think about their topics and how it relates to not only their own lives but the lives of others. Research and education should be about liberating others. 

5. Helps develop research, writing, and critical thinking skills.

6.  Gives students the opportunity to explore their creativity. 


Using zines in your classroom is pretty easy! There are a few ways this can be accomplished:

1. You can assign zines to be read just as you would other types of resources for your course.   Place a copy on course reserve in the library.

2. You can have a zine-making workshop where students learn about zines and make their own.

3. You can allow students to use zines in their research.   Peer-reviewed articles are not always appropriate for every assignment. This means giving them the okay to use them as cited sources in the bibliographies and Works Cited. 

4. You can assign your students to create a zine as either a group project or as an individual project. 

5.  Have students create a reflective writing zine for an assignment.  It's a great way to synthesize what they learned!



Resources consulted: 

Dawn Stahura @ Simmons University, Zine! Teaching With Zines.