DIY Delivery Systems: The Extracurriculum in the Age of Neoliberalism

Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Writing Program


Stephen J. Parks


assemblage, circulation, composition, DIY, neoliberalism, zines

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


“DIY Delivery Systems: The Extracurriculum in the Age of Neoliberalism” considers how historical shifts in circuits of production, distribution, and consumption affect the authorial desires of writers outside of the classroom. As such, I suggest that while theories of desire promise a rich theoretical framework for understanding the extracurriculum, the field’s more widely applied term — self-sponsorship — reflects a neoliberal emphasis on human agency. In making a case for this schism, I borrow from theories of affect and assemblage and investigate the extracurriculum of do-it-yourself (DIY) publishers — those writers who continue to use print in the twenty-first century as a means for expression, producing and circulating self-made texts — in an age where digital-only tools, such as blogs and social media, are passed off as compulsory platforms for public voice. Understanding desire as a more significant component of the extracurriculum requires scholars to account for both the material and historical shifts in delivery systems that produce certain networks, as well as the ordinary affects such shifts have on public writers. As such, I attribute the emergence of one such assemblage — the Canadian magazine Broken Pencil, which has covered DIY publishing and art since it was founded 1995 — not only to its editors, writers, and readers, but an amalgamation of globalized neoliberalism and the rise of the commercial web. As such, this study suggests that while these forces have helped DIY publishers expand their networks, this has been at the expense of a different sort of politics than those cultivated by radical, print-only self-publishers throughout the twentieth century. Ultimately, I suggest that in order to study and teach multimodal public writing, we must develop an understanding of the numerous intermediaries — the various circuits of production, distributions, exchange, and consumption — that have shaped authorship and readership through time.


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