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papers, guides, thesis'es, dissertations, abstracts, on (grrrl) zines, riot grrrl, punk etc.

If you have written an article, a thesis, dissertation or paper on (grrrl) zines, riot grrrl or feminist media (or think it would fit here), and want to make it accessible for others, email me and we can post your work here!
elke [at] grrrlzines [dot] net

The idea to this resource site was discussed on the mailing list [ukzinenetwork] ukzinenetwork [at] and evolves thanks to the ideas and contributions of its members (in particular Red/Fingerbang distro)!

papers, thesis'es, dissertations

Rebekah B.: Zine Survey (pdf)
(Temple University, Urban Education Program, Philadelphia, USA, 2003/2004)

"(...) As part of a class on gender issues (and hopefully a longer study), I want to examine what zines teach the girls and women who read and create them; how zines empower girls and women, explore gender issues that society does not address, and create a world of social justice. Please take the time to fill out my survey and return it to me. (...)"

Rebekah B.: <rebekahb [at] temple [dot] edu>

Chelsey Flood: Institutional Case Study on Riot Grrrl (pdf)
(Falmouth College of Arts in Cornwall, UK, 2003)
Chelsey Flood:<chelmonkey [at] hotmail [dot] com>

Jenn Frederick: Breaking the Waves: Continuities and Discontinuities Between Second and Third Wave Feminism. A thesis in progress (web site) [college and year unknown]

Jenn Frederick: <jlfred [at] attbi [dot] com>

Annie Knight: Scratching the Surface: Zines in Libraries (pdf)
(San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science, USA, May 2004
Annie Knight:
<digress [at] 9250x [dot] com>

Lettie Conrad: Third wave feminism: A case study of BUST magazine (pdf)
(Master's thesis at California State University, Northridge, 2001)

Contact: <lettieconrad [at] yahoo [dot] com>


Sarah Maitland: Riot Grrrl (pdf)
(Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, USA, 2002)

"The following is a paper I wrote on Riot Grrrl for my Social Movements and Social Change class last semester (Fall 2002), a Sociology class taught by Dr. David Croteau and sometimes offered at the university I attend, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. The paper had to discuss the three important parts of social movements: structural conditions and grievances, political opportunity, and mobilizing structure. The last part of the paper had to be our own analysis of the movement."

Sarah Maitland: <thatimpossiblesound [at] yahoo [dot] com>
The paper is also available at:

Perris, Kate. Unearthing the underground: a comparative study of zines in libraries. Dissertation for the MA in Information Services Management at London Metropolitan University, August 2004. See pdf file.

Abstract: This study examined the treatment of zine collections in various libraries. Most were academic libraries based in the US but data was also obtained on public and UK based libraries. An open questionnaire was administered via email to staff in libraries hosting zine collections. This questionnaire found that zine collections vary greatly in size. Most collections were broad in focus although a few collected only geographically local zines and all the libraries focussed on women's collections collected zines either about or by women only. Most zine collections were found to have begun due to the impetus of a committed individual or on receipt of a significant donation of zines. Donation was also found to be the main method of obtaining new zines. Reasons given for collecting zines including documenting a wide range of viewpoints and experiences (particularly women's experiences) and encouraging creativity. Most collections sought to catalogue zines individually although only a few have done so and this has proved difficult given an absence of clear bibliographic information. Nevertheless librarians in this field have demonstrated that they have the will to overcome such difficulties.

Kate Perris: <kate_galactic [at] rocketmail [dot] com>


Whitney, Eleanor: Making Media, Making Meaning: Zines and Critical Consciousness in Young Women. Senior Work Project, Eugene Lang College, Cultural Studies Concentration. New York , New York, May 12, 2005. Table of Content (pdf), Senior Work Project (pdf).

Eleanor: <killerfemme [at] yahoo [dot] com>


Hillary Belzer: Words + Guitar: The Riot Grrrl Movement and Third-Wave Feminism
(Thesis, Georgetown University, USA, 2004)

The third wave of feminism, which began roughly in the early 1990s, is distinguished by its insistence on multiple definitions of feminism and the embracing of differences between women. Comprised mostly of women who were too young to participate in second-wave activism in the ‘70s and ‘80s, this generation believes anyone can create her own feminism, and that it is essential for the feminist movement to recognize the diversity of women in order to advance their equality. Due to the new role of mass media in the ‘90s, third-wavers are also more concerned with the cultural representation of women and its effects than their second-wave counterparts.

The Riot Grrrl movement consisted of a diffuse network of young women interested in challenging male hegemony both within the underground punk scene and society in general. Riot Grrrl first started in Olympia, Washington when a few women formed bands and held women-only meetings in which girls could discuss the ways sexism informed their everyday lives. Riot Grrrl was characterized by certain punk philosophies, most notably DIY (do-it-yourself), in that girls actively engaged in cultural production, creating their own music and fanzines rather than following existing materials. It also reflected several aspects of third-wave feminism: body image concerns, the resistance to societal demands for female perfection, support of diversity, and the redefinition of the word “feminist” along with “girl."

Words + Guitar: the Riot Grrrl Movement and Third-Wave Feminism seeks to provide an understanding of the Riot Grrrl phenomenon as well as attempt to situate this movement within the context of third-wave feminism. I discuss Riot Grrrl as a concrete manifestation of the third wave of feminism and utilize it as a case study for examining how postmodern philosophy, cultural theory, and political history have been woven together to produce a new form of feminism. Riot Grrrl was one of the many expressions of third-wave ideals and issues, and helps us navigate and comprehend the diffuse, contradictory nature of the third wave. Thus Riot Grrrl is useful in understanding how young feminists are forging resistance to sexism in American culture. (pdf webpage inactive 23/02/2006)

Jennifer F. Eisenhauer: What is a girl? Producing subjects in feminist and visual culture pedagogies
(PhD dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, Advisor: Yvonne Gaudelius, 2003)

This study is a theoretical investigation into the construction of "girl"; subjects in educational and feminist discourses. In asking "What is a girl", this inquiry locates the question of the "girl" as integral to critically addressing normative understandings and definitions within feminist and educational discourses. This study suggests that the "girl" subject is not simply that which education and feminist researchers write about, but rather examines how the"girl" subject and the assumptions guiding what he/she is presumed to be are produced through educational and feminist research. In addition, questioning the production of subjects within feminist and educational theory simultaneously draws attention not only to the politics of language, but also to its critical and disruptive potentiality. This dissertation locates the question &ldquo;What is a "girl" in an atmosphere of increased research related to girl cultures in the 1990s. This study begins by examining the discursive construction of "girl" subjects within the intersections of multiple disciplines including the emerging discourse of Girls' Studies, research focused upon &ldquo;girl&rdquo; subjects in cultural studies, critical media studies and feminist educational theory and writing on feminist generations and waves. By questioning the normative hierarchies formed through the constitution of &ldquo;girl&rdquo; subjects as future women and future feminists reflected in feminist generational metaphors, this study examines the potential of alternative metaphors of becoming and examines their implications for art education and feminist research. After first critiquing teleological constructions of coming of age and becoming reflected in Enlightenment subjectivity and the Bildungsroman genre, this study interprets the film Ma Vie en Rose and Post-Riot Grrrl zine networks as reflecting non-linear and rhizomatic metaphors of becoming that complicate sex/gender categories. This study concludes by tracing the implications of postmodern theories of subjectivity in art education research. This study emphasizes theorizing visual culture arts education as a theoretical shift necessitating a critical address of the means through which subjects and particularly student subjects are produced through the language of visual culture theory.

Doreen Marie Piano: Congregating Women: Reading the rhetorical arts of third wave subcultural production
(PhD dissertation, Bowling Green State University, Advisor: Kristine Blair, 2003)

My dissertation entitled Congregating Women: Reading the Rhetorical Arts of Third Wave Subcultural Production analyzes the production and reception of texts known as "zines"; As an alternative media system, zines are independently produced publications created by and for a particular group of people who use them to communicate ideas, polemics, obsessions, and passions. In this study, I analyze a group of women writers who use low- and high-end technologies to produce zines. Although many of the women who currently produce zines do not identify as a riot grrrl, the impetus behind their production originated in an underground feminist movement of the early 1990s known as "riot grrrl." The movement's emphasis on do-it-yourself (DIY) practices - taking cultural production into one's own hands through self-publishing - as an ethical and political stance against male-dominance in alternative culture paved the way for a third wave subcultural feminist movement to take place. Thus, this project argues that through their multiple uses of technology, modes of autobiographical writing, and engagement with gender issues, this group of women utilizes various rhetorical practices to foster a third wave feminist subculture. Because zines operate on the peripheries of mainstream discourses, their study can reveal how subcultural communities negotiate with dominant culture over issues of power, identity, representation, and agency. In addition by analyzing their cultural production rhetorically, focusing particularly on the classical canons, delivery and style, as well as the classical appeal, ethos, I provide an in-depth analysis of discourse production that takes into account the production, distribution, and reception of these texts.


Jenny Gunnarsson, Umeå University, Sweden.
Threatening Sisterhood? Reflexivity and Hegemony in the Study of a Radical Feminist Zine

Fourth Essex Graduate Conference in Political Theory

Rhetoric and Politics
University of Essex - Department of Government
9-10 May, 2003

The aim of this conference paper is to explore the problems with and possible ways of using what is commonly referred to as "reflexivity" within areas such as ethnology, anthropology and sociology in a study using the analytical tools of discourse theory. The main focus will be Ernesto Laclau's and Chantal Mouffe's discussions of different modes of hegemonic logics, and how one can use their ideas of logics of
difference and equivalence to analyze not only the objects of study, but also to illuminate how the researcher creates the world he or she studies. In this paper this will be discussed in relation to one specific case, which is part of the material used for my Ph.D thesis. The idea of sisterhood is central for the "zinesters" studied, though it takes different forms in different contexts, and therefore produces different kinds of
political identities and practices. The articulation of sisterhood in this specific case is closely related to radical feminism, which is based on what in the post-structuralist field is called an essentialist idea of gender, an idea which I as a scholar do not agree with. The use, therefore, of post-structuralist theories in analyzing these texts, may be
regarded as a problem - especially since the zinesters of Radarka (the name of this specific zine) regard post-structuralism as one of the greatest threats against what they concieve of as "real feminism" and "real sisterhood". Radarka on the one hand regards the researcher as a "sister" who is included in the sisterhood. On the other hand, this sister can be regarded as a threat to the very same sisterhood. This paper
discusses possible solutions for this kind of ethical and political dilemma in research.

Anna Feigenbaum, McGill University
Girls! Girls! Grrrls?: (Re)Conceptualising a Feminist Punk

interrogating post-feminism: The Politics of Gender and Popular Culture
An international conference on post-feminism and popular culture

Television Studies
School of English and American Studies
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
April 2-3 2004

The late 1970s punk movement, though largely misogynist and homophobic, allowed a few female punk performers to gain recognition. These musicians (Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith) cleared ground for the Riot Grrrl movement in the early 1990s. Through women-oriented shows and mosh pits to a 1992 media-blackout, the Riot Grrrl movement brought feminist issues to the forefront. But since the Riot Grrrl collective dispersed, and their politics are said to have failed, few female punk bands have been able to effect any real change or challenge to (punk) rock culture's sexist standards and structures.
During the last few years there has been an upsurge of successful female pop-punk artists (Avril Lavigne, Pink, The Donnas). However, unlike their predecessors, these acts are not founded on (political) punk or feminist objectives. Moreover, the mainstream success of such artists often masks the contributions of musicians still working out of or alongside Riot Grrrl objectives (Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre, Ani Difranco).
In this paper I argue for a (re)conceptualisation of a "feminist punk." By mapping a genealogy of women's influence on and interactions with "punk"-as a generic term as well as a form of music production and performance-I address punk's potential as a site for political resistance. Locating, in particular, various constructions of female agency offered by contemporary (pop) punk acts, I discuss how the emergence and proliferation of post-feminist attitudes and values have contributed to the depoliticisation of "punk".

Rebecca Munford, University of Exeter
Bad Girls and Rebellious Daughters: Girl Power and the (A)politics of Post-Feminism

interrogating post-feminism: The Politics of Gender and Popular Culture
An international conference on post-feminism and popular culture

Television Studies
School of English and American Studies
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
April 2-3 2004

In her discussion of 'girl power' in The Whole Woman, Germaine Greer laments the 'catastrophic career of "girls," "girls behaving badly," "girls on top."' (399) having denounced three decades earlier the 'relentless enculturation' and stereotypes of female passivity and modesty to which girls were subjected in The Female Eunuch (92), she identifies an equally, if not more, insidious form of indoctrination in the construction and marketing of 'girl power' - that is, of the paraphernalia of sexualised femininity - to girls and young women by the media: 'to deny a woman's sexuality is certainly to oppress her but to portray her as nothing but a sexual being is equally to oppress her.' (410-11) the trajectory of Greer's analysis thus highlights a discursive shift from the decorous 'good girl' to the sexually aggressive 'bad girl' in popular constructions of girlhood and its representations - a Madonna/whore dichotomy that is all too familiar. This paper will explore the (a)politics of Girlie culture and the Riot Grrrl within post-feminism. The extent to which the Riot Grrrl and Girlie have positioned themselves - and been positioned - in an antagonistic relationship with second wave feminism bears out Lynne Segal's suggestion in Why Feminism? That intergenerational conflict has been embedded in accounts of feminist histories and, crucially, the wave paradigm (205). It is one of the paradoxes of girl culture, then, that while is refuses to surrender a prediscursive structure for girls' and young women's subjectivity, it positions itself in an antagonistic relation to generation. In this light, third wave configurations of girl culture can usefully be understood as dramatising one of the central contradictions confronting young feminists. It is this blending of (third wave or post-feminist) poststructuralist strategies with (second wave) identity politics, that provides a space for a reconsideration of the political viability of configurations of 'ironic femininity' as allowing for a notion of feminist agency. The danger in girl culture - and in the wave paradigm more generally - is that it reiterates the trope of mother-daughter conflict. Reinforcing this intergenerational schism - and ghettoising feminist histories - opens up a space for patriarchal recuperation as girl power emerges as the site of that dangerous and deceptive slippage between third wave feminism and post-feminism.

Eichorn, K. (2001). Sites unseen: ethnographic research in a textual community.
International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), 14(4), 565-578.

Recent writing on the subject of ethnography has sought to examine the field not only as a place where research is carried out, but also as a methodological construction. While this writing emphasizes the extent to which people's experiences of community and culture can no longer be necessarily understood in relation to geographically based locations, it often continues to assert the "legacy of the field" (Clifford, 1997, p. 88) and its accompanying expectations and practices. In this article, I draw on my experience of doing ethnographic research in the textual community of 'zines in order to challenge the assumption that ethnographic fieldwork is necessarily dependent on physical displacement, and face-to-face encounters with our research participants. Specific attention is paid to the epistemological and ethical issues that emerge when one chooses to carry out research in textual communities. Intentionally foregrounding the parallels between the textual community of 'zines and the virtual communities associated with the Internet, this article also raises important questions for ethnographers carrying out research in networked environments.



Matt Holdaway: A Student's Guide on What a Zine Is and Tips on How to Make One

Version 2.0 (Berkeley, California, USA, 2004)
"This guide is meant to introduce what a zine is, a brief history of independent publishing, tips on how to make your own zine and information about getting your zine reviewed, into a library, a store and online. It is also meant to provide information about zine fests, e-zines, distros and e-groups."
Matt Holdaway: <>


China Martens: A Subjective History of Mama Zines/Organizations and Related Topics. (2004)

Claire Villacorta: Zines for (a) Living. (pdf) Manila, Philippines. Note from the author: Zines For (A) Living" (January 2002) was initially published in Mr. & Ms. Magazine as part of this feminist insert called XYZine. The article was part of XYZine's themed issue on "alternative businesses", though I made it clear that no money can be made from zinemaking. Includes basic info on zines, local girl-authored zines in existence, distro highs and woes and getting zines on the internet.

Claire Villacorta: Where's the Riot? Girl zinesters and girl scenesters in the Philippines (pdf) Manila, Philippines. Note from the author: "Where is the Riot? Girl zinesters and girl scenesters in the Philippines" on the other hand, was writtien for issue #4 of Sapling Thoughts zine (released May 2001). Sapling Thoughts is a feminist zine from Laguna, Philippines, and is published by Karen Ison. Here, I try to find a relationship between the Revolution Grrrl Style Now that took place in the U.S. and the Pinay zines that came out in the '90s, most notably in 1996, given the cultural backdrop of a male-dominated punk scene and its longer history of zinemaking.





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