Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



This study considers the educational significance of zines—small circulation, self-published magazines—by asking how educators who teach with zines encounter and negotiate zine pedagogy. Though the literature on zines and teaching describes many potential benefits, it also describes contradictions and failures, with some researchers even going so far as to claim that “zines do not belong in classrooms” (Guzzetti, Elliott, & Welsch, 2010, p. 71). Through this dissertation, I investigate and complicate these claims by examining the stories and perspectives of teacher/zinesters—educators who teach or have taught with zines in a classroom setting. The project is situated within theories of the public sphere, scholarship on teaching public writing, and existing work on zine pedagogy. Adopting a narrative research design, I collected data in the form of written and telephone interviews with seven teacher/zinesters, their class materials related to zine pedagogy, their own zines, and other documents and media in which they discuss zines or zine pedagogy. I also examined narratives about zines and their history from books, films, articles, and websites published by members of the zine community. My analysis involved coding the teacher/zinester narratives to develop categories and themes, which I triangulated with supporting data. I found that these teacher/zinesters encounter and negotiate zine pedagogy as an act of making space, publishing, and engaging in conversation. The teacher/zinesters describe zine pedagogy as promising to create space that may not otherwise be available in school, but must contend with the constraints that school imposes on the “radical” space of zines. Multiple promises of zine pedagogy as publishing were identified by the teacher/zinesters, including publishing as a stage in the writing process, as the creation of a physical product, and as sharing. The teachers/zinester narratives also reflected a view of zine pedagogy as conversation, promising to provide students with a model of writing as conversation, as well as to pull them into conversation through saying “yes” and saying “no.” I interpreted these themes through public sphere theory and the feminist poststructural strategy of the figuration: in this case, a narrative of promise, failure, and ruins.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Bach, Jacqueline



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Education Commons