Zines, Metal, POC, and Librarianship


Selection of British and American punk zines, 1994-2004 From Wikipedia author Burn_the_asylum (uploaded on 25 March 2005)

So I haven’t posted here in awhile, mostly because my thesis work was completed and I had my second baby! Yay!

Life as usual took root and carried me away. Now that I’m back at work and thinking about my research leave projects, I decided to make an effort to be creative again. This was in part because I felt like I’ve been going through writer’s block. And for quite some time, my creativeness came out through my thesis writing – which being academic, didn’t strike me as all that creative in it’s use of language. I think I’m craving something more visual and hands-on this time around.

I was talking to a friend the other day about how many years I actually spent researching women and extreme metal and how now, I feel a bit lost. So what to do….

Well, I’ve got some research in library land in the works but it’s feeling a bit stagnant. So I’m attempting to try something creative to get the brain flowing. One of my research projects is starting a Zine collection at our college library. I’ve volunteered once or twice at local Zinefests and have been a fan of zines for some time. About two years ago, I had a back burner idea to start one of my own. So that’s what this is. It’s my attempt to start my very own perzine (personal zine) for those who might not know the term. I had a name and even a blog site figured out a long time ago – ObZine. I thought I’d start the first issue off with the theme of “feminism and metal bodies“. I figured I’d have content I could take from my thesis and showcase it in a visual way. For text, I’m going to try apply quotes from women academics that I admire who are doing work in metal studies.

But first, like any good librarian, I started digging and doing some research. To my wonderment, I found a beautiful POC zine over at https://blkgrlswurld.com/. What’s great about it, is not only the fact that the creators are people of color, but they’re metalheads too – who live in nyc as well! Finding stuff like this helps to validate the research work I’ve done, and makes me extremely happy. It reminds me of when I got a copy of my colleague Laina Dawes’ book, “What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal“. While I’m not black, this book resonated in so many ways with me. It cemented the various ways in which the metal music scene can be deterring for a woman and a woman of color. And it confirmed my own experiences of “outsiderness” when participating in the scene. Laina’s book opens a dialogue for discussions on racism, sexism, bigotry and discrimination in metal and really gets to  heart of what many POC’s feel when taking part in any subculture – exclusion.

With zines ruminating in my head, I’m hoping it will give me more ideas on how to organize and conduct the future workshop I want to hold this March at my college. Part of the plan is to have a local zinester come in and co-teach a brief workshop for students and faculty. The final products being zines that the students and faculty make to jumpstart a new zine collection at the college. I’ve gotta do more research on what’s worked and what’s failed for other zine librarians but I’ve already got a collection proposal drafted for my chief to review and a few meetings set up for planning. So there’s that!

Wish me luck.




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