Writing in the Humanities: Cultural Studies Zine Using Adobe InDesign (by Trisha Remetir)
This learning module encourages students to translate what they've learned during the semester into publications intended for a popular, lay audience. They do so by learning the history and cultural significance of zines (powerful, subversive publications that were used to question social mores, cultivate communities for LGBTQ folks, People of Color, and other marginalized groups, and share knowledge in low-cost, accessible ways) and using the research methods they've learned during the class to produce a zine of their own. While students are individually researching their final topic projects, they spend the first two weeks of this unit learning about zine history, ethics, and design. The next two weeks are dedicated to workshops devoted to teaching the basics of Adobe InDesign CC. The primary goal and outcome of the project is to deepen their understanding of their final research project by producing an analytical work that resonates both inside and outside the classroom.
Though this final project was originally executed in a class that focused on themes of migration and globalization, this capstone project and related modules may be tailored to any class with interdisciplinary themes. Given the rich history of zines, this project would work especially well for courses in gender studies, ethnic studies, feminist studies, or service- and activist-oriented classes. The end products of this unit are an 8-page zine produced in InDesign, along with a traditional response paper (optional).
The primary learning outcomes for this assignment are:
- Learn how to speak about cultural objects (film, advertisements, paintings, short stories, buildings, places, programs) and analyze devices pertinent to each genre
- Produce a short "close reading" of a cultural object as it relates to our class topic of migration and globalization
- Explore alternative methods of publishing work through a pamphlet or a short zine
- Learn how to format instructional presentations on InDesign.