get lost in this archive of 800 deeply weird, rediscovered radical zines

The University of Kansas has just acquired the full collection of Solidarity! Revolutionary Center and Radical Library. Subjects range from transgender issues to soy milk and Bruce Springsteen.

by Hannah Ongley
11 April 2016, 8:15pm

Exactly what constitutes a zine has undergone a radical shift in recent years. Kanye West, despite being uncompromising when it comes to actually pronouncing the word ("pronounced Zeen short for magazine"), took a liberal approach to the idea that profit is not the primary intent (his Yeezy ones were $200). A new wave of digital zines are keeping the DIY spirit of self-publishing alive while carving out space for marginalized voices. Prior to the internet, the concept was a lot more specific. "They are somewhat ephemeral by nature," says Frank Farmer, a professor of English at University of Kansas who has just arranged for the acquisition of the zine collection of the Solidarity! Revolutionary Center and Radical Library, a now-defunct political activist organization based in Lawrence, Kansas. "And they are certainly a form of outsider writing. They often go unnoticed by mainstream culture. A lot of them are what you could call 'publications of high weirdness.'"

Of the 1000+ zines acquired from Solidarity!, over 830 of them are available online in all their Xeroxed fan-made glory. Visitors to the digital archive can narrow the results down by subject, creator, or title, or scroll through the entire collection of titles — which range from "Cleveland Punk Fest" and "Liberty, Anarchism, and the Noble Savage' to "Bruce Springst Zine" and "10 Steps to Delicious Soymilk!" The "Camp Trans: Gender Camp 2000 Zine" features a handy list of arguments for non-gendered bathrooms that most politicians in 2016 could benefit from taking a good look at. 

Get lost in the full archive here


Text Hannah Ongley
Images University of Kansas

university of kansas