It’s no secret that American Studies courses are among the most fascinating, enriching, and fun at UT. Today, we bring you a feature on a unique creative assignment that one of our Ph.D. candidates and Assistant Instructors, Brendan Gaughen, created for his undergraduate 311s course, “America in the 1990s”: a 1990s era zine.
Here’s what Brendan had to say about the project:
During the semester, students read about and discussed the activist and community-building potential of zines and this assignment was inspired by a desire to have students participate in something creative and collective, using a format that was quite popular in the 1990s. In addition to creating a single-page visual representation of their final paper (a topic they had been researching and writing about for most of the semester), students submitted a 2-3 page reflection paper describing why they chose particular images and text and how this creative visual format allows them to convey something different about their project than a typical research paper. Being a class about the cultural history of the 1990s, having students contribute to a collective zine seemed like an obvious choice for an assignment and I am quite impressed at what they created. Doing the layout was more complicated than I anticipated (it required cutting everything in half and reassembling four different halves per two-sided page), but the result is something tangible that students can hang onto as a memento.