upcoming zine about names and naming in radical cultures

From Strangers zine author Wren Awry:

My friends are a varied bunch: anarchists, activists, punks, artists, musicians and techies. They come from a variety of different backgrounds, gender expressions and political persuasions. But one thing I’ve noticed about my friends that cuts across qualifiers and social groups is that many have chosen new names for themselves.

I love hearing friends’ stories about how they got their names. As I’ve heard more of them, I’ve become increasingly interested in the cultural phenomenon of taking chosen names. Why do radicals often shed the names they were given as children and take on new ones? How is this act fueled by a mainstream American culture where children are named according to entries in baby name dictionaries? What are some of the many reasons radicals choose to reject this culture and name themselves? Conversely, why do some folks feel connected to the names they were given as children and choose to retain them?

This zine will combine cultural histories of naming with interviews and personal narratives. It will not shy away from issues of appropriation and of naming as a way to obscure abusive pasts, but it will also be a celebration of what we have chosen to call ourselves and why.

I’m looking to interview people for this project. Please contact Wren Awry at seamsandstory@gmail.com.

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