Events Calendar

The circulation of controversy: Mimeography, fanzines and...

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
FIMS and Nursing Building (FNB)
Room: 4070

"The circulation of controversy: Mimeography, fanzines and the amateur press association"

Presented by Will Straw, James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies, McGill University.

Abstract: Long before photocopiers and on-line blogs became the tools of fandom, science-fiction fans mastered the art of mimeography and other methods of amateur publishing.  Since the late 19th century, amateur printers had grouped together in so-called “amateur press associations” (or “apas”) to distribute their home-made magazines to each other in bundles.  The “apa” was a key feature of science fiction fandom by the 1940s.  By the 1950s, critics were wondering whether the back-and-forth exchanges which went on inside “apas”, as members used their own magazines to respond to others, was producing unprecedented levels of infighting and souring the atmosphere in science fiction fandom.  In the early 1960s, a move to block an accused pedophile from attending the World Science Fiction Convention split science fiction fandom into warring factions, and the heated discursive environment of the amateur press association was seen as one cause of this atmosphere of intense polemic.  Drawing on my new research into mimeography, pre-media fandoms and the amateur press association, I will show how systems for the distribution and circulation of fanzines shaped particular climates of dissension.

Speaker bio: Will Straw, is James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He is the author of Cyanide and Sin : Visualizing Crime in 50s America (Andrew Roth Gallery, 2006) and co-editor of several volumes including Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture (with Alexandra Boutros), Formes Urbaines (with Anouk Bélanger and Annie Gérin), Improvision and Social Aesthetics (with Georgina Born and Eric Lewis) and the Oxford Handbook of Canadian Cinema (with Janine Marchessault).  Recent co-edited journal issues  include special issues of Scapegoat on “Night” (with Christie Pearson), Intermédialités on “Habiter (la nuit)”(with Luc Gwiazdzinski), and Imaginations on “The Visuality of Scenes” (with Nathalie Casemajor).  Dr Straw maintains a website, devoted to developments in the nocturnal culture of cities, and has published over 150 articles on music, cinema and urban culture.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Becky Blue

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