BKS 2000: Duplicators: The DIY Ethic and DIY Aesthetics in 20th and 21st Century Literature (Spring 2020)

Course Information

Course Code: BKS 2000 HS
Class Times: Wednesdays 3-6pm
Class Location: Colin Friesen Room, somewhere in the labyrinthine depths of the Massey College basement

Instructor: Prof. Adam Hammond
Office Hours: Mondays 12:30–1:30pm, Wednesdays 1:30–2:30pm
Office Hours Location: JHB 624
Email: adam.hammond@utoronto.ca

Course Overview

Virginia Woolf devotes much of Three Guineas to the question of how to achieve “intellectual liberty” — and comes to an eminently practical conclusion: publish your own work. In an early formulation of the “DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Ethic,” she positions “the private printing press,” “typewriters,” and “duplicators” as “cheap and so far unforbidden instruments” by which one can bypass “the pressure of boards and editors” and thus “speak [one’s] own mind.” This course employs the methods of Book History, Periodical Studies, and Science and Technology Studies to explore the literary impact of “duplicators” in key moments of twentieth and twenty-first century Anglo-American literature. Focusing on early-twentieth century modernism (printed little magazines like The Egoist and Fire!! and independent presses like Woolf’s Hogarth), mid-century international modernism (mimeographed journals like Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts and magazines like Rajat Neogy’s Transition), Soviet Samizdat (carbon-copied typewritten works like Venedikt Erofeev’s Moscow Stations), riot grrrl (photocopied zines like Bikini Kill and Girl Germs), and independent videogames (made in Twine, Source, and Unity), we will investigate the relationship between the material, technological, and social conditions that enable inexpensive self-publication and the forms of aesthetic expression and social engagement that they afford.

In this course you will:

  • Describe the salient properties of publishing technologies such as hand presses, mimeographs, photocopiers, and videogame engines
  • Identify the major claims of Book History and Periodical Studies as they relate to DIY artistic practice
  • Investigate the material contexts in which modernist fiction, New York School poetry, Samizdat novels, riot grrrl zines, and independent videogames developed
  • Critique the notion that aesthetic forms develop in dialectical relation with publishing technologies
  • Compare the aesthetic forms and associated social movements that developed in relation to little magazines, mimeography, xerography, and independent videogames
  • Lead a seminar discussion
  • Write a research paper 

Course Materials

In keeping with the course content, readings will be available in a variety of duplicated forms. Readings are direct links or are on Quercus unless otherwise noted.

Course Schedule

January 8: Introduction via Punk

January 15: Theoretical Frameworks for DIY Literature

  • Pierre Bourdieu, “The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed”
  • Jacques Rancière, “The Distribution of the Sensible: The Aesthetics of Politics”

January 22: Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press

  • J. H. Willis Jr., Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers (selection)
  • Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Two Stories
  • Virginia Woolf, Kew Gardens 1919 and 1927 editions (to read both, click “View images from this item” in the British Library interface)
  • Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (selection)
  • Skim the following novels by Virginia Woolf: The Voyage Out, Night and Day, Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway

January 29: Riot Grrrl

  • Janice Radway, “Girl Zine Networks, Underground Itineraries, and Riot Grrrl History”
  • Selection of canonical riot grrrl zines
  • Mimi Nguyen, ed., Evolution of a Race Riot #1, introduction (4-6), slant (9, 66, 84-85), outro-duction (93).
  • Annotated Bibliography due

February 5: Indie Games and Game Engines

  • Indie Game: the Movie (clip will be shown in class)
  • Nicoll and Keogh, The Unity Game Engine and the Circuit of Cultural Software (selection)
  • Fullbright Company, Gone Home ($)
  • Davey Wreden, The Beginner’s Guide ($)
  • Adam Hammond, “Books in Videogames”

February 12: Twine and Videogame Zines

February 26: Samizdat

  • Final project proposal due

March 4: The Mimeograph Revolution and the New York School

  • Daniel Kane, All Poets Welcome (Introduction, 57-79)
  • Steven Clay and Rodney Philips, A Secret Location on the Lower East Side (selection)
  • Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts (selected issues)
  • Diane Di Prima and LeRoi Jones [Imamu Amiri Baraka], The Floating Bear (selected issues)

March 11: Modernist Little Magazines (II)

  • Eric Bulson, Little Magazine, World Form (selection)
  • Rajat Neogy, Transition 1, 5, & 6/7
  • Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker, The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines Volume II: North America 1894-1960 (selection)
  • Wallace Thurman, ed., Fire!!

March 18: Modernist Little Magazines (I)

  • Adam McKible and Suzanne Churchill, “Little Magazines and Modernism: an Introduction”
  • Faye Hammill and Mark Hussey, Modernism’s Print Cultures (selection)
  • Lucy Delap and Maria DiCenzo, “Transatlantic Print Culture: The Anglo-Feminist Press and Emerging ‘Modernities,'” in Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940, edited by Ann Ardis and Patrick Collier
  • Dora Marsden, Harriet Shaw Weaver, Rebecca West et al., eds., The Freewoman 1.1, The New Freewoman 1.1 and 1.13, and The Egoist 1.3 (full issues on Quercus)
  • Jayne E. Marek, Women Editing Modernism: ‘Little’ Magazines & Literary History (selection)
  • Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, The Little Review 1.1, 3.6, 4.1, 4.11, and 7.3 (full issues on Quercus)

March 25: William Blake and DIY

April 1: [open topic]

  • Final project due

Marking Scheme

Your final grade will be based on the following:

  • Annotated bibliography (10%)
  • Seminar presentation and position paper (25%)
  • Final project proposal (5%)
  • Final project (40%)
  • Participation (20%)


Active participation is necessary. Students are expected to contribute regularly and constructively to class discussion.


Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Accessibility Services at (416) 978 8060; accessibility.utoronto.ca.


The University of Toronto treats cases of academic misconduct very seriously. Academic integrity is a fundamental value of learning and scholarship at the UofT. Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in this academic community ensures that your UofT degree is valued and respected as a true signifier of your individual academic achievement.

The University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters outlines the behaviours that constitute academic misconduct, the processes for addressing academic offences, and the penalties that may be imposed. You are expected to be familiar with the contents of this document. Potential offences include, but are not limited to the following.

In papers and assignments:

  • Using someone else’s ideas or words without appropriate acknowledgement
  • Submitting your own work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor
  • Making up sources or facts.
  • Obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance on any assignment (this includes working in groups on assignments that are supposed to be individual work)

On tests and exams:

  • Using or possessing any unauthorized aid, including a cell phone
  • Looking at someone else’s answers
  • Letting someone else look at your answers
  • Misrepresenting your identity
  • Submitting an altered test for re-grading


  • Falsifying or altering any documentation required by the University, including (but not limited to) doctor’s notes
  • Falsifying institutional documents or grades

All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following the procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in this course, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have questions about appropriate research and citation methods, you are expected to seek out additional information from me or other available campus resources like the College Writing Centres, the Academic Success Centre, or the U of T Writing Website.

Communication Policy

My preferred method of contact is via e-mail. I will respond to e-mails within 24 hours, though I generally will not respond to e-mails sent on weekends until the following Monday.

Additional Notes

This syllabus is subject to change. Because of this, you are encouraged to consult this web page throughout the course, rather than printing it off.
Your remaining in this class constitutes acceptance of the conditions outlined in this syllabus.
Please be aware that we will discuss sensitive issues in the course, related to topics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and politics.