Mar 21st, 2018, 08:33 PM

Radical, Militant, Queer And Presumptuous

By Gabriel Green
The Roaches' Staff. Image Credit: Gabriel Green
Gender, Sexuality and Society Department's new "Roaches" zine aims to question cultural norms through feats of print activism.

Drawing inspiration from modern revolutionaries like Angela Davis, Simone De Beauvoir and Audre Lorde, who wrote the poem "Survival of the Roaches," from which the journal manifested its namesake, AUP's new Roaches zine has scurried onto the scene with an ambitious agenda. Spearheaded by editors in chief Sanae Alouazen and Sarah Thomas, deputy editors Gabby Guichard and Dhouha Djerbi, art director Elizabeth MCghee, with Gabe Araùjo covering marketing and publicity, Jasmine Paul as SGA liaison and guided by it's academic advisor Dr. Lissa Lincoln, the publication will serve as the Gender, Sexuality and Society Department's first academic journal. 

"Roaches is aiming to be a platform for radical queer, feminist, and race theory in addition to creative activist projects. We seek to challenge, question, and highlight injustices, socially constructed norms, and most notably bridge the gap between activism in Paris and AUP," said the Roaches' staff. Members of the publication have requested to be quoted collectively under the pseudonym Roaches, a testament to their radical nature. "We chose to write collective answers because we thought that giving a voice to our political statements was more important than individual profiles since it's about what Roaches stands for and what the legacy that we are inspired from and attempting to contribute to."

The project came about after several of the Roaches members on the editorial team met through the GSS program and extracurricular activities, both on and off campus. "For instance, some of the members are involved in the GenSex club, in addition to AUP for Consent and SGA," said the Roaches' staff. Yet, the inception of the journal began with the Roaches faculty advisor, Lissa Lincoln. "Professor Lincoln was the one to suggest the idea of coming all together to start this new journal, following our various discussions on the importance of constructing a thorough and political discourse around queer, race and gender issues," said the Roaches staff. 

"Emotional response is a good place to begin a dialogue."

"The idea of a student journal of this kind has been percolating since the inception of GSS, and as such has always been part of the original blueprint and design of the major. This year all of the necessary pieces came together and, on several levels, it felt like a timely moment to launch the project," said Professor Lincoln.

Through accepting submissions of a variety of academic and creative writings, art and performance, Roaches aspires to "bring to the center the Gender Studies Program as a space where many of these issues intersect and are theorized in increasingly exciting and thought-provoking ways," says the Roaches' staff. 

Possibly the first thing to provoke thought and possibly turn a few heads is the presentation of the zine itself.  "Radical, militant, queer and presumptuous" are the adjectives which the Roaches team has chosen to describe the new publication. Yet, these words were chosen not just to grab the attention of potential readers and the use of charged language was done with clear intent. "That emotional response is a good place to begin a dialogue," said the Roaches staff. "Like Angela Davis, another inspiration for this project, explains it herself 'radical means grasping things at the roots.' We aim to question, deconstruct and destabilize hegemonic accounts of gender, queerness, and race but also to extend beyond academia into an activist, grassroots collective resistances. When we say or do something provocative, it opens up the conversation."

Although topics of gender, sexuality, racism are all prevalent issues percolating in today's public consciousness, Roaches does have some question surrounding how the publication will be received. "We anticipate people thinking that this journal will be something they cannot necessarily identify with. Roaches is not offering ideas that are completely unknown to the AUP community, but we are amplifying existing voices that might be otherwise unheard or silenced," said the Roaches' staff. However, they do have high hopes for the future. The Roaches' staff said, "We hope people see the necessity of this project; once it's out, people might think Why did it take us so long to get here?" 

The inaugural issue of Roaches launching at the end of April was allocated nearly €3,000 by SGA and will contain 100 pages, consisting of 80 percent writing and 20 percent art. Content that readers can look forward to includes academic papers such as "Queeristan: LGBTQ Muslim experience, coming out as a Western concept," a satirical advice column, interviews with activists in Paris and creative works of political art, photography and poetry. Roaches will also be hosting a launch party for their first issue, which they intend to publicize via Facebook in the near future. 

The deadline for this year's issue has passed. However, please do not hesitate to email us at for the future issue or any possible collaboration.