Kimberly Wedeven Segall presents 'Superheroes in the Streets: Muslim Women Activists and Protest in the Digital Age'

How female Muslim activists have heroically raised physical and digital protest banners

Third Place Books welcomes Seattle Pacific University professor Kimberly Wedeven Segall to our Ravenna store! Segall will be discussing her new book, Superheroes in the Streets: Muslim Women Activists and Protest in the Digital Age. This event is free and open to the public.

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About Superheroes in the Streets. . .

The icon of the female protester and her alter-ego, the female superhero, fills screens in the news, in theaters, and in digital spaces. The female protester who is Muslim, though, has been subject to a legacy of discrimination. Superheroes in the Streets: Muslim Women Activists and Protest in the Digital Age follows the stories of both famous and grassroots Muslim female protestors, bringing careful attention to protest modes and online national icons.

US Muslim women have long navigated public and digital spaces aware of the complex and nuanced histories that trail them. Given the pervasive influence of mainstream feminism, Muslim women activists are often made out to be damsels in distress. Even when mass media turns its attention to the activism of Muslim women, persistence of these false narratives demeans their culture and hypersexualizes their bodies.

Following the stories of US Muslim women activists, author Kimberly Wedeven Segall shows how they have been reinventing the streets and remaking racialized codifications. Segall highlights their creativity in crafting protest media of posters, rap rally songs, and digital images of superheroes, carving public spaces into inclusive and digital territories. Each chapter teases apart the complexities of public banners and digital activism.


Praise for Superheroes in the Streets. . .

"Muslim women play an important part in American activism but are rarely depicted in positions of power. Superheroes in the Streets points directly to the diminished reputation of those women activists and highlights exactly why their stories matter, especially in the digital world."
—Sara Shaban, author of Iranian Feminism and Transnational Ethics in Media Discourse

"Segall has done an astounding job of mining various disciplinary archives and putting them in conversation with one another. Superheroes in the Streets is a commendable study of icons and superheroes as they relate to the activism of Muslim American women."
—Hussein Rashid, coeditor of Ms. Marvel's America: No Normal and coexecutive producer of “The Secret History of Muslims in America”

Kimberly Wedeven Segall is professor of literature and cultural studies at Seattle Pacific University and affiliate faculty of gender, women, and sexuality studies at the University of Washington. As the director of the social justice major and Morocco study abroad program, and as a scholar activist for the past three decades, her experience includes workshops for racial reparations in South Africa and cofacilitating workshops at the American Muslim Empowerment Network in the Pacific Northwest with political activist Aneelah Afzali. Segall’s approach is a brilliant and nuanced intervention in gender studies, cultural studies, and digital activism. Her earlier work on Performing Democracy in Iraq and South Africa: Gender, Media, and Resistance (Syracuse University Press, 2013) traces the creative and digital media of resistance of Iraqi women in blogs and poetic laments, of Iranian women in their graphic novels and videos, and of political performances of various kinds of Islamic feminisms. Her excellent book Superheroes in the Streets: Public Protest in a Digital Age (University Press of Mississippi, 2024) traces the interesting stories of US Muslim women activists. And her work carefully maps their use of online icons—of Rosie the Riveter, and other national icons, like superheroes. She shows how these icons are part of their foundations in protest and radical feminism—what she calls radical super-icons. Her nuanced work reflects her experiences in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and her work with grassroots organizations, demonstrating for their rights, especially in the wake of ongoing police violence against minorities. Her recent articles on digital feminisms, de-imperializing gender, and on American Muslim women’s media sites have been published in Oxford University Press’s Handbook of Politics and Performance, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies, Companion to Contemporary Arab American Literature, Research in African Literatures, Public Culture, and other compilations.

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