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Welcome to the website for the Small Magazines, Literary Networks and Self-Fashioning in Africa and its Diasporas international research network. Here, you will find information on network participants, partner organisations, our activities and events and upcoming publications.

About the project:

Comprised of academics and practitioners, this research network seeks to explore the role of small magazines, literary journals, periodicals and other alternative print cultures from Africa in the larger context of Black Internationalism and its legacies. Through their role as sites of intimacy and collaboration, these publications give rise to the creation of networks of affiliation and corridors of storytelling which span localities, regions, transnational and diasporic contexts, functioning as active participants in the creation of black and African ideologies in the global imaginary. These networks, in turn, play a crucial role in everyday social, cultural and political life on the continent. From the late days of empire to the present day, cultural forms of expression have served as central media through which claims towards and against modernity and self-actualisation have developed, while also offering an outlet for the fostering of large-scale forms of activism and for the transmission of new orthodoxies for subjectivity, both individual and collective.

Individually and collectively, we examine these issues, considering the circulation and production of small magazines in Africa in order to explore the ways in which they enable lateral forms of self-fashioning. Ranging from formal publications in receipt of state and NGO sponsorship to informal ‘zines’ circulated through counter-cultural networks, and taking forms spanning print and digital media, small magazines are often neither widely known nor accessible outside of their specific localities; yet, through their vernacular and often-overlapping trajectories of distribution, these publications hold a significant role in the fostering of everyday practices, cultural memory while continuing to ask larger questions about the legacies of empire in a neo-liberal global capitalist order, driven through the platform of the nation-state.