The Spaces in which We Appear to Each Other: The Pedagogy of Resistance Stories in Zines by Asian American Riot Grrrls

  • Cathlin Goulding Teachers College, Columbia University


The early 1990s marked the onset of Riot Grrrl, a grassroots feminist movement which galvanized in women-driven punk scenes in cities like Olympia, Washington, and Washington, D.C. Riot Grrrl was a new kind of feminism, one that was unapologetically aggressive and forthright in its responses to patriarchy, mass media, and consumerist culture. The message of the movement was, in part, disseminated through the use of zines—the small stapled booklets in which grrrls asserted their feminist ethos, shared personal stories, and reviewed bands and shows. In this paper, I report on a study of one subgenre of zines—those by Asian American riot grrrls. Zines used in the study were sampled from the Barnard Zine Library, a library dedicated to the presentation and preservation of feminist zines by women and girls living and working in the New York metropolitan area. Building on Maxine Greene’s (1995; 2001) theories of aesthetic encounters and Lee Ann Bell’s (2010) concept of “resistance stories,” I examine the pedagogical possibilities of Asian American riot grrrl zines.


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