In Their Own Words

Zine Making for Self-Exploration and Expression
April 23, 2021 to September 12, 2021
Image of pages 39-40 in Indige•zine's Decolonize Love issue. Left page, illustration of two indigenous women kissing with a pink flower covering their faces, labeled "Queer Indigenous Love"; right page: Red beads strung into letters to form the text "We Define Our Selves" on a person's bare back
Indige•zine is a platform for indigenous expression, identity, and resistance. This issue, "Decolonize Love," explores the ways indigenous peoples define and practice all types of love outside of the colonial patriarchy. (Twitter: @indigezine)

Posting on social media platforms may be the most common means of self-expression and information sharing today, but zines predate and now coexist with that medium. Before social media gave users the freedom to share their lives and perspectives, zines radically challenged the publishing industry’s standards, providing a way to spark dialogues about unaddressed subjects and share works by largely underrepresented authors. Typically produced in small batches and offered at a low price or for free, zines allow for an interactive, liberated exchange of knowledge and experience. Anyone can create a zine, and the possibilities for zines’ contents are endless!

Interior page of Wash Day, in which follows Kimana, a 26-year-old woman living in the Bronx, as she cares for her long, thick hair.
Black Josei Press's Wash Day / Día de Lavado follows Kimana, a 26-year-old woman living in the Bronx, as she cares for her long, thick hair. It is a "slice-of-life comic that pays tribute to the beauty and endurance of Black women and their hair." (Twitter: @BlackJoseiPress)

Often self-published, non-commercial works, zines can amplify silenced voices. Through the art of zine making, creators that are Black, Indigenous, POC, disabled, LGBTQIA+, religiously persecuted, young, and/or of a low socioeconomic status have found an accessible platform to share ideas and experiences. Zine creation and dissemination is inherently subversive. Collected and stored with the same care as our historically rare books and artifacts, zines share histories and perspectives that are still underrepresented in archival and academic spaces. A small sampling of the zines in our archive, these works show the important and varying perspectives this genre elevates. We hope you will be inspired to reflect on your positionality, take action, subvert expectations, and maybe even create a zine of your own!


Installed exhibit case featuring zines from the Special Collections Research CenterCuration and Design: Abram Clear '21, SCRC Graphics Student Assistant; Alex Wheeler '23, Special Collections Student Assistant (inspired by the work of Keith Haring)

Fabrication and Installation: Brionna Atkins, Digitization Specialist; Jennie Davy, Exhibits Manager; with Abram Clear and Alex Wheeler

Zine Collection Building: Shayna Gutcho, 2019-2020 Mosaic Fellow; Jacob Hopkins, former Collections Specialist