An Intersection of Passion and Purpose: Masters Student Researcher Publishes Her Own Feminist Zine
While searching for a means of creative expression Trent University student Aishwarya Javalgekar , an English M.A. (Public Texts) graduate, saw her self-published zine “ang(st)”, an inclusive platform for feminist and marginalized voices, evolve from a research project to a pursuit driven by passion.
Becoming a creative and reflexive researcher
“The interdisciplinary approach of the program allowed me to focus on texts from socio-cultural and feminist perspectives,” states Ms. Javalgekar who previously studied Literary and Cultural Studies with a specialty in Media in India. “It goes beyond a literature graduate program.”
As a researcher, Ms. Javalgekar is keen to explore the intersections of gender, media, popular culture and mythology. She brings them together with various texts including books, comic books and zines. She also questions the definitions of texts, female and postfeminist gothic, and contemporary and commercial Canadian culture.
“As a poet and writer, I viewed my artistic work as separate and distinct from my research. Trent gave me space to integrate the two by bringing artistic production into research processes and output.”
Under the supervision of Dr. Suzanne Bailey, professor of English M.A. (Public Texts) and an accomplished author, writer, and editor, Ms. Javalgekar feels the program’s faculty enabled her to explore the boundaries between research and creativity.
“All of this provided me with the confidence to personalize my research to my experience and context.”
Giving her research a voice
Within the program’s internship research project, Ms. Javalgekar gained hands-on editorial experience at Simon and Schuster Canada, a well-known publisher. While there, she researched the evolution of female gothic in Canadian commercial fiction by women authors. Among other research projects at Trent, she conducted extensive study of feminist zines.
Proud to present her work at graduate conferences, she reflects, “It definitely provides credibility to my research,” says Ms. Javalgekar. “It shows an acceptance towards newer, more creative and reflective approaches to research in Canadian scholarship.”
Preparing for zine launch
Ultimately, Ms. Javalgekar’s applied research on feminist zines led her to create ang(st), a zine focused on feminist bodies and experiences.
“This project excites me as a researcher, an editor, a poet and a writer,” declares Ms. Javalgekar. “Trent allowed me to approach the zine as more than a research topic.”
She describes the publication as intersectional, transnational, diverse, inclusive and queer. Now a team effort, the third issue of the bi-annual zine was published this spring.
“I am proud to have grown into a space for marginalized voices and identities: bodies that are considered outside the realm of ‘normal’ and ‘able’.”
According to Ms. Javalgekar, ang(st) is committed to publishing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), LGBTQ+, differently-abled, and other underrepresented feminist voices.
Going forward Ms. Javalgekar reveals, “I want to keep building ang(st) as a feminist platform while continuing this personal and artistic approach towards my research on feminist texts.”
Posted on May 27, 2020