Sophia Rose Arjana
Islam, Feminism, and Popular Culture
Lexington Books 2017
New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network May 14, 2018 Shobhana Xavier
Veiled Superheroes: Islam, Feminism, and Popular Culture (Lexington Books, 2017) by Sophia Rose Arjana (with Kim Fox), takes us on a riveting journey through the world of superheroes and villains from the streets of New York to Pakistan. The book is a creative, masterful, and fascinating analysis of female Muslim superheroes in popular comic books and animation. Through the use of global examples, such as Ms. Marvel, Burka Avenger and Bloody Nasreen, just to name a few, Arjana engages her readers beyond reductive discussions of the veil, sexuality, and gender to highlight the ever-complex ways in which female Muslim superheroes can help us engage constructively with ideas of Islamic feminism, the Muslim female body, intersectionality, and even notions of violence. With supernatural powers, such through the mystical arts (i.e., Sufism), or human qualities of courage and bravery, the Muslimah superheroes featured in this study capture the real and complex lives of Muslim women globally, and the vast negotiations they have to contend with. In doing so, Arjana masterfully highlights that there is no singular Islamic feminist (or just Muslim) female experience. This book is a must read for anyone interested in religion, popular culture, and gender studies, while its accessibly written style, makes it an excellent resource for teaching religious, media, and gender studies for undergraduate students.
M. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Ithaca College. Her research areas are on contemporary Sufism in North America and South Asia. She is the author of Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism (Bloomsbury Press, 2018) and a co-author of Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2018). More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.