Call for Contributions: Symposium “Perspectives on the zine and the alternative publishing scenes”

A much overdue update from the Toronto Zine Library will be coming next week, but in the meantime TZL is happy to share the following Call For Contributions:

“Perspectives on the zine and the alternative publishing scenes” Conference – CRILCQ, Université de Montréal – October 6 and 7, 2022 

Zines have rarely been the subject of in-depth analysis in Quebec, unlike American or  European researchers who have been studying them for the past twenty years – one of the  main scientific studies on the zine remains Notes from Underground. Zines and the Politics  of Alternative Culture by Stephen Duncombe, published in the United States in 1997 and  republished more than once. Despite the growing importance of zines in the cultural sphere  of Quebec and Canada, they remain relatively unknown to the general public. They are often  perceived as “literary UFOs” (Legendre, 2020), particularly because of the multiple forms they  can take, sometimes far from that of a book. Over the years, however, the zine has developed  its own readership, outside of existing cultural groupings. It has become, for many  marginalized or institutionally excluded communities, a vital space that they invest and a place  for engaged discourse. In this way, these communities are able to express their conditions  and realities in ways that bypass the institution and the norms of traditional publishing. 

We are beginning to see institutions and research centers create zine collections or related  programs to create zine archives. Some institutions are focusing their collections on a  particular topic while others are seeking to build a more comprehensive picture of the zine  scene. Notable institutions include The Toronto Zine Library, The British Library, Harvard  University’s Schlesinger Library and the Centre d’Archives gaies du Québec. Also in Quebec,  the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la littérature et la culture québécoises  (CRILCQ) annually nurtures its collection of zines, named “Édition alternative : fanzine, micro édition et autres objets d’art.” The collection began in 2016 and the Center’s acquisitions are  mostly made through annual visits to Expozine. These institutions or groupings allow for  greater visibility and accessibility of these rare or ephemeral publications, also keep track of  them and reach the readership in another way. 

The objective of the conference “Regards sur les scènes du zine et de l’édition alternative” is  to open a dialogue on alternative publishing by bringing together the various actors of the  zine scene in Quebec and Canada and researchers from the academic world. In particular,  we wish to provide a forum for exploring the freedom allowed by the zine and its influence on  the political aspects of discourse. We also wish to question the place and perspectives of the  zine within the Canadian literary field. 

We invite artists, researchers, publishers and actors in the zine community to reflect on the following issues, among others 

▪ The creation of zines ; 
▪ The differences between zines, fanzines and artists’ books ; 
▪ The materiality of the zine ; 
▪ Zine communities ;
▪ The zine as a space for reflection and creation around issues of feminism and gender ; 
▪ The place of the zine in the institution (literary world, publishing world, universities,  etc.) ; 
▪ The possible bridges between the zine scene and the literary scene ;
▪ The marginal aspect of the zine ; 
▪ The reception of the zine and its horizon of expectation ; 
▪ The links between the zine and the traditional book ; 
▪ The market of the zine ; 
▪ The archiving of the zine ;  
▪ Etc. 

Proposals, written in French or English, may take the form of papers or roundtables and may  concern research, creation or research-creation. The duration of the presentations is 20  minutes. For roundtable proposals, short biographies of the speakers are requested. The  length of the round tables will vary according to the number of speakers.  

Proposals (title and abstract of 250-300 words), accompanied by a biographical note (100  words maximum), are due no later than June 26, 2022 and should be sent to (Subject: proposal – zines 2022 conference). 

Benjamin Forget (CRILCQ, Figura, Université de Montreal) 
Karolann St-Amand (CRILCQ, Figura, Université de Montréal) 

BACHAND, Éric (réalisation), « Qu’est-ce qu’un zine? » sur ONFR+ Culture, 7 novembre  2019 [en ligne] 

Balado Québec, Le syndrome de la page colorée, 2020-2021, [en ligne] 

DUNCOMBE, Stephen, Notes from Underground. Zines and the Politics of Alternative  Culture, Bloomington, Microcosm Publishing, 2008 [1997]. 

GRAYSON, Margaret, « Zine Scene: Exploring Montréal’s Indie Artistry », in Vermont’s  Independence Voice. Seven Days, 18 décembre 2019. 

LEGENDRE, Izabeau, « La scène du zine de Montréal : histoire, organisation et position dans  le champ culturel », mémoire de maîtrise, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2020.