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X University
Centre for Digital Humanities
November Offerings



The Ninth Annual BHPC
J. R. de J. Jackson Lecture

Thursday 2-4 pm

November 4

Janice Radway (Northwestern University), “Girls, Zines, and Their Travels: Imagining Lives, Crafting Archives for a New Century”

A Zoom webinar hosted by the Centre for Digital Humanities and organized by the Book History & Print Culture Program, University of Toronto, with support from the McLuhan Centre for Culture & Technology.


Descriptive and analytic accounts of girl zines have proliferated in the years since they first seemed to explode onto the public scene during the 1990s. Most of these accounts, whether in the mainstream press or in scholarly circles, focus on girl zinesters’ engagement with feminism and trace their origins to the Riot Grrrl movement, which is itself usually explained as originating in the activities of a small number of female-fronted bands that developed in the pacific northwest. In fact, however, research in the numerous zine archives that have been organized since the late 1990s suggests that girls and young women of the period actually took up the practice of zine-making and zine circulation for a range of reasons and in somewhat different contexts. Drawing on extended research in these archives, this lecture will consider the question of what it might mean to take account simultaneously of the variability of girl zine practice and the fact that, despite such differences, significant numbers of girls and young women together gravitated to the zine form during this highly unsettled decade. What was it about the 90s in particular, and the specificities of the zine form itself, that incited young women not simply to more public forms of self-expression but to the social activity of seeking out contact with others beyond familial and local friendship circles? And why did their zines make their way into library archives in less than ten years? This lecture will argue that girls turned to zine-ing as part of a struggle to re-imagine subjectivity and sociality in ways that were more fluid, porous, and collaborative than the models recommended by older forms and institutions like the novel, the school, the bourgeois family, and even the magazine. The lecture will also venture the suggestion that “girl zines,” as a genre and an archive, were a collective product generated by a range of individuals and institutions laboring in their own distinct fields for their own purposes, yet whose contiguous work generated an identifiable and useful cultural form.

Janice Radway is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Northwestern University. Radway is widely known for her scholarship on readers, reading, books, and the history of middlebrow culture. She has served as the editor of American Quarterly, the official journal of the American Studies Association, which elected her President in 1998.  She is also the author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature, which won the Fellows Book Award as a “classic” in the field of Communication from the International Communication Association and was recently translated into Mandarin and published in Bejing. She is also the author of A Feeling for Books: The Book- of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire and co-editor of American Studies: An Anthology and Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1945, which is Volume IV of A History of the Book in America. Currently, Radway is working on a book about girls and zines in the 1990s and beyond.

In Fall 2021, in place of the drop-in hours it holds at its space in X University Library, the Centre for Digital Humanities (CDH) will be holding weekly virtual drop-in sessions on Wednesdays from Noon-1 pm (usually on Zoom). These are intended as casual, learning opportunities that bring together the DH community at X University and beyond during COVID-19 restrictions.

Join us!

More About Weekly Themes

Each week in a month will be dedicated to a specific theme. The first week, Stories in Play: Let’s Try, will consist of a led, shared exploration of a work of electronic literature (eLit) or a narrative-driven digital game. Week 2, DH Workbench, will be a led, shared exploration of a digital resource or tool for research and/or pedagogy. Week 3, DH@XU Reads, will be an open discussion of a selected work of DH scholarship, read in advance of the drop-in. The fourth week, Critical Code Studies, will explore how coding/programming can be studied in the humanities.

Join us!

CDH Virtual


Wednesdays Noon-1 pm


November 3

Will O’Neill’s Little Red Lie (2017)

Host: Tanya Pobuda

Join Tanya Pobuda as she chats about student debt, the housing crisis, income inequality and marginalization while playing the Toronto-based independent game Little Red Lie.


November 10

Writing as Programming as Writing

Host: Jason Boyd

Are writing and programming more akin than supposed? This question will be considered in light of the dialogue between Stephen Ramsay and Geoffrey Rockwell: “Untitled Number 4: A Brechto-Socratic Dialogue.


November 17

“Punching Holes in the International Busa Machine Narrative”
by Arun Jacob

Host: Jason Boyd

Join Jason for a discussion with Arun Jacob about interrogating the founding story of ‘humanities computing.’

An open access PDF of Alternative Histories of the Digital Humanities edited by Dorothy Kim and Adeline Koh and published by Punctum Books (2021) in which Jacob’s essay appears can be downloaded here.


November 24

Sarena Johnson’s “In Their Moccasins: An Open Educational Game for Post-Secondary Student Staff, Instructors.”

Host: Sarena Johnson

The game, created using Indigenous methodologies and processes, was developed by Sarena Johnson as a way to improve on-campus supports for Indigenous post-secondary students. Sarena and her team are using Pressbooks and H5P, open-source publishing tools, to create interactive storytelling modules and content to enhance student staff, instructors with improved cognitive empathy for Indigenous learners.

This session will include a live, how-to demonstration of the tools, and how they can be used in games creation and academic publishing.