Book cover for Digital Black Feminism. Collage in of black women and girls amidst flora and fauna and white geometrical patterns.

Catherine Knight Steele: Digital Black Feminism

Catherine Knight Steele in conversation with Sarah J. Jackson
February 21, 2022 - 4:00pm5:30pm

Annenberg School, Room 110,
3620 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Digital Black Feminism traces the long history of Black women's relationships with technology. Dr. Steele unpacks Black women's use of technology by speaking to the principles, praxis, and product of Black feminist thought online. She argues that scholars should examine how previous generations of Black feminist thinkers produced their writing alongside modern social media maven’s commercially branded Black feminist thought work. Digital Black Feminism challenges us to consider how Black women serve as the best case for understanding both the possibilities and limitations of technology. This talk features a conversation with Dr. Steele and Dr. Sarah Jackson, Presidential Associate Professor, Co-Director, Media, Inequality & Change Center and author of Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice.

Catherine Knight Steele is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Maryland - College Park where she directs the Black Communication and Technology lab (BCaT) as a part of the Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, & Optimism (DISCO) Network funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her research focuses on race, gender, and media, with a specific emphasis on African American culture and discourse in traditional and new media. She examines representations of marginalized communities in the media and how groups resist oppression and practice joy using online technology to create spaces of community. 

Sarah J. Jackson studies how media, journalism, and technology are used by and represent marginalized publics, with a focus on how communication arising from Black, feminist, and activist spaces contributes to US progress. Jackson's first book, Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press (Routledge, 2014), examines the relationship between Black celebrity activism, journalism, and American politics. Her co-authored second book, Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (MIT Press, 2020), focuses on the use of Twitter in contemporary social movements. As a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, she is working on a third book on the power and innovation of African American media-makers. She engages deeply with critical theories of the public sphere, race, and social movements throughout her work. Jackson is co-director of the Media, Inequality & Change Center which explores the intersections between media, democracy, technology, policy, and social justice. MIC produces engaged research and analysis while collaborating with community leaders to help support activist initiatives and policy interventions.


In accordance with Penn’s COVID-19 Guidelines, all in-person attendees are required to wear a mask; display their PennOpen Pass or PennOpen Campus green pass before entry; attest to having been vaccinated; and register their contact information with the organizers in the case that follow-up from contact tracers is needed.