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Identity, food, miscarriage: students explore personal themes at ‘Zine Fest’

Identity, food, miscarriage: students explore personal themes at ‘Zine Fest’ - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

English senior Yvonne T. Samuels talks to a student about her zine "enter Her secrets" at Texas A&M University-San Antonio's Zine Fest April 12, 2023 in the Science and Technology Building. The fest featured original written and illustrated works from ENGL 3315 students who wrote about themes and topics personal to them. Photo by Amber Esparza

Identity, food and miscarriage were some of the concepts students concentrated on in their self-written, self-designed zines or mini magazines. As part of ENGL 3315, a critical theory English class, each student shared their original written works during Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Zine Fest April 12. 

Katherine Bridgman, associate professor of English and instructor of the critical theory course, said the purpose of the zines was for the students to apply frameworks learned in class to the “murky areas” of their lives. 

Bridgman said the students chose the topics of their zines, which allowed them to express their unique experiences. 

“It’s compelling,” Bridgman said. 

Topics picked by students ranged from child labor to self-care and gender politics. 

“A Foodies Journey to Cross the Cultural Divide,” a zine by criminal justice senior Henry Page, focused on dumplings and how the dish is enjoyed in different countries. 

Page said he wanted to highlight other countries and cultures while navigating his own food journey. He also wants to encourage his own culinarily stubborn family to try new foods. 

“Have you ever been to a restaurant you’ve never been to and try to find the food you already eat?” Page asked. “That’s my family.” 

Some students used the zine as an outlet to discuss issues very personal to them. 

English senior Yvonne T. Samuels titled her zine “enter Her secrets.” 

The hot pink cover of the zine describes what the work is about: “a discussion on some of the real issues on sexual violence” and Samuels’ personal experiences with sexual violence. 

Samuel’s zine features personal essays and poems, and the centerfold presents a list of the names and ages of women who have gone missing in Texas since 2015. She dedicated the zine to all girls and women who “share the same fears of being harassed, attacked, attacked, hurt, assaulted and objectified.”

“Society has normalized rape culture,” Samuels said. 

Samuels plans on releasing a second issue of “enter Her secrets” in May for which she is accepting student art and writing submissions adressing sexual violence against women. The deadline to submit work to be featured in Sammuels’ zine is April 28th. Students can email their submissions to Samuels at

English senior Carolina Lopez wrote her zine “Personal Business” about her experience with miscarriage. 

The zine featured Lopez’s story and statistics on miscarriage like 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women who know they’re pregnant. 

“On March 3rd, I went to a routine dr’s appt to check on an unexpected but very wanted pregnancy,” Lopez started on the first page of her zine. “They couldn’t find the heartbeat.” 

The last page of Lopez’s zine displayed a sonogram image of her pregnancy.  

Although the zine event had not been marketed with flyers or social media, the fest attracted dozens of students in the lobby of the Science and Technology Building. 

Odette Calona, an interdisciplinary studies senior, was getting snacks at Jaguar Java when the booklets sprawled along tables caught her eye. 

Calona said she really liked “La Chingona,” a zine about “embracing your true identity” as a Hipanic woman, authored by communication senior Sarah Cervera. 

Cervera dedicated “La Chingona” to her grandma, who died this year. Cervera described her as a strong woman who didn’t let anyone talk down to her. 

The back of Cervera’s zine reads “In Loving Memory of my Nana 1935-2023.” 

“It’s really interesting,” Calona said about the zine. “I’m hispanic and a woman so I can really relate.” 

Bridgman said that her students’ zines expand her understanding of why the critical theory concepts discussed in her class are so important. She even considers the students’ works when creating the reading list for her course. 

“The point [of the zines] is for this knowledge to be useful to you all in life,” Bridgman said. “It’s not for me it’s for [the students].”

About the Author

Xochilt Garcia
Editor in Chief
Xochilt Garcia is a junior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio majoring in communications. In her downtime Xochilt enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on and listening to music in all forms. Xochilt hopes to become a full-time reporter, traveling and bringing light to the stories that matter to the community.

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