Make a mini-zine!

In our time together this morning, we’ll briefly explore how we can use the available means of persuasion to engage publics in particular ways. We’ll begin with an activity that introduces you to how the affordances of one widely available means — a single sheet of paper — can help you imagine and produce an piece of rhetoric that might persuade, confront, identify with, or make a public that has the capacity to be moved to action. The goal here is to experience and understand the complex relationship between media, materiality, and the production and circulation of rhetoric.

  1. Take a survey. Use your laptops or smartphones to take this quick survey about your experience writing public texts. We’ll return to it in a moment.

2. What’s a mini-zine? In class I will give you an unfolded example of a zine — an unassembled textbook, if you will — that also explains what zines are. Here’s the digital version which you can print and try to fold at home if you wish:

Take a moment to assemble this zine. I’ll walk you through this in class, but there are many different mini-zine templates/instructions online as well. Here’s one from Kickstarter:

3. DIY a mini-zine. At this point if I asked you to make your own mini-zine, what would you make it about? For whom? Why? Would it be something related to your survey responses? Take a few minutes to talk with a partner or small group about some ideas and how you might go about putting one of these together — and think about the materials, tools, and technologies you would need to produce a prototype and circulate multiple copies.

4. Share ideas. In the final part of this lesson we’ll hear some of your ideas for making a mini-zine and I’ll share some examples from student and activist communities in Syracuse and Flagstaff. [1] [2] [3]

Final question: In what ways does this activity inform our thinking about the relationship between one canon of rhetoric, invention, and another, delivery, especially in terms of the materials or circuits by which our rhetoric travels?