HKW ventures to resignify each public space in its historic building with the names of women from different worlds who have contributed to the betterment of them. Many of these women have, for ideological, political, economic, and patriarchal reasons, among others, been marginalized or erased from dominant narratives or those found in conventional history books. In doing so, we hope to participate in the writing of other histories by paying homage and making the lives and works of many women visible through the infrastructure of the institution itself.

Aziza Ahmad for Archive Books

Gloria Anzaldúa Stairs
(1942, Harlingen–2004, Santa Cruz)

Chicana, Tejana, lesbian, feminist, poet, and cultural theorist Gloria Anzaldúa was and continues to be a guiding force for many generations of feminists, thinkers, and writers. Anzaldúa declared herself ‘a border woman’ and taught how to exist in the in-between space of La frontera, also referred to as una herida abierta, an open wound, inhabited by the marginalized. Her radical vision of a transnational feminist common language is anchored in the fractures and particularities of homes and identities. Her works include: This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981); Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987); and This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation (2002).

Lorenza Böttner Offices
(1959, Punta Arenas–1994, Munich)

Lorenza Böttner was a Chilean-German trans* artist. After losing both of her arms in an accident as a child, she travelled to Germany to receive medical treatment. There she confronted disability discrimination, challenging it in her university studies. Throughout her long recovery, her body became a key axis of her work, defying the beauty standards often associated with able-bodied and cisgender white women. She became an interdisciplinary artist and activist, representing a subjectivity informed by her disability and trans* identity and painting with her mouth and feet. Her most notable exhibitions include: Requiem for the Norm, Kunstverein Stuttgart, 2019, and her multimedial self-portraits shown at documenta 14, Kassel, 2017.

Lydie Dooh Bunya Space
(1933, Douala–2020, Goussainville)

Lydie Dooh Bunya was an important writer and critical figure for Black women in the French feminist movement. Despite the severe underrepresentation of Africans in French politics, she was instrumental in fighting against forced marriage, polygamy, and female genital mutilation for African women of diverse origins. As a print and digital editor, including for broadcaster Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française, she was a critical voice for addressing societal concerns. In 1981, as a founder of the Mouvement pour la défense des droits de la femme noire [Movement for the defense of the rights of Black women), she continued emphasizing the specific struggles of Black women. Among her works: La Brise du jour (1977).

Hedwig Dohm Entrance
(1831, Berlin–1919, Berlin)

A modern thinker ahead of her time, many of Hedwig Dohm’s feminist demands still have not been realized. In her critical analyses of patriarchal ideals in nineteenth-century literary works, Dohm argued that femininity as a social trait is not determined by biology, but rather has its roots in education. She demanded equal education and professional training for men and women and fought for women’s right to university education and suffrage. A clever and irreverent writer, in the latter half of her career Dohm used her comedic wit to compose several theatre comedies that were performed at the Berlin Schauspielhaus. Among her most famous works is Die Antifeministen. Ein Buch der Verteidigung [The antifeminists. A book of defence,1902].

Lili Elbe Garden
(1882, Vejle–1931, Dresden)

Lili Elbe was a Danish artist and one of the first individuals to undergo gender affirming surgery at ​​Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexology in Berlin and the Dresden Municipal Women's Clinic. She is now recognized as an influential transgender figure, her semi-autobiographical narrative Fra mand til kvinde having been published in the same year of her death. The English translation, Man into Woman: An Authentic Record of a Change of Sex, was published posthumously in 1933. The Danish Girl, a film inspired by her biography, was released in 2015.

Semra Ertan Garden
(1957, Mersin–1982, Hamburg)

Semra Ertan was a Turkish poet, blue-collar worker, and political activist. When she was fourteen years old, she emigrated to Germany, where her parents resided as so-called guest workers (Gastarbeiter*innen). She started composing poetry at the age of fifteen, first in Turkish and then in German. To protest rising intolerance and hostility towards immigrants in Germany, she set herself on fire when she was only twenty-five. The day before, she announced her act on national broadcasters NDR and ZDF and read her most famous poem, ‘Mein Name ist Ausländer’ [My name is foreigner, 1981]. Over 350 of Ertan’s compositions were published in 2020 under the title Semra Ertan: Mein Name ist Ausländer. Benim Adım Yabancı in German and Turkish.

Forough Farrokhzad Garden
(1934, Tehran–1967, Tehran)

Forough Farrokhzad, a modernist poet and film-maker, is considered one of the most important voices for Iranian women. After the Islamic Revolution, her poems were banned for nearly a decade because they addressed controversial topics like feminine sensuality, and they continue to resonate today. The Captive (1955); The Wall (1956); The Rebellion (1958); and Another Birth (1964) are the four collections of poetry she produced in Persian during her brief lifetime. Let Us Believe at the Beginning of the Cold Season (2022) and Sin: Selected Poems of Forough Farrokhzad (2007) are two collections that have been translated into English. Farrokhzad also directed the groundbreaking documentary The House is Black (1962) notable for its compassionate depiction of leprosy sufferers in Iran.

Safi Faye Hall
(1943, Dakar–2023, Paris)

Born in a small village of the Serer people in the region of Sine-Saloum, Senegal, Safi Faye was a film-maker and ethnologist. Considered the first sub-Saharan woman to direct a film (La Passante, 1972) and also the first to direct a commercially-released feature film (Kaddu Beykat, 1975), Faye’s filmography spans almost fifty years, with a scope, forcefulness, and topicality that remains understudied. Many of her documentaries have received support for their focus on community and sensitive approach to the experiences and struggles of women and children living in rural areas. Her productions also include: Fad'jal (Come and Work, 1979); Selbe: One Among Many (1982); Tesito (1989); and Mossane (1996).

Marielle Franco Space
(1979, Rio de Janeiro–2018, Rio de Janeiro)

Marielle Franco identified as a Black woman, mother, and cria (daughter) of the Maré favela in Rio de Janeiro. As a sociology graduate, she defended the human rights of racially and sexually discriminated individuals against police brutality, which, according to her dissertation, reinforced the criminal state model. In 2016, she was elected to the Rio de Janeiro City Council for the PSOL (Party for Socialism and Freedom). She was murdered on 14 March 2018, shortly after being appointed to oversee the role of federal units in the city’s public security. Her death sparked a wave of indignation and partisanship around the world.

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou Space
(1923, Yewubdar–2023, Jerusalem)

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou was a composer, pianist, and nun in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Before becoming a nun, she had been immersed in Ethiopian traditional song since childhood, trained in classical violin and piano, and embraced early jazz. Her extraordinary compositions combine parlour piano, gospel, ragtime, Ethiopian folk music, and the choral traditions of her church. Songs like ‘Ballad’s Love’, ‘The Homeless Wanderer, and ‘Song of the Sea’ reflect both her personal life and significant events in Ethiopian history. Some of her most important albums include: Spielt Eigene Kompositionen (1963); The Hymn Of Jerusalem, The Jordan River Song (1970); The Visionary – Piano Solo (2012); and Jerusalem (2023); as well as a compilation album entitled Éthiopiques Volume 21: Ethiopia Song (2006).

Zakia Ismael Hakki Room
(1939, Baghdad–2021, Annandale)

Zakia Ismael Hakki was a Feyli Kurdish lawyer who became Iraq’s first female judge in 1959. She established the Kurdish Women’s Federation in 1952 and served as its president between 1958 and 1975. In 1970 she was elected to the leadership committee of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and played a crucial role in both the women’s struggle and the 1991 Kurdish uprising. Due to her political views, the Baʿath Party placed her under house detention for more than twenty-one years, from 1975 to 1996, until her departure from Iraq to the US, where she resided in exile. She returned to Iraq in 2003 and was elected to the country’s National Assembly, serving as a constitutional advisor.

Fannie Lou Hamer Reflecting Pool
(1917, Ruleville–1977, Mound Bayou)

Fannie Lou Hamer was an American civil rights activist and prominent advocate of voting rights for Black Americans. The youngest of twenty children, Hamer rose from humble beginnings in the Mississippi Delta to found and lead the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964, which challenged the local Democratic Party’s efforts to block Black participation in voting. A dynamic speaker, Hamer used the Democratic National Convention in 1964 to speak out against the segregation of African Americans in Mississippi. She also helped to organize the Freedom Summer of 1964, an initiative that brought young students from abroad to Mississippi to help register Black voters.

Bessie Head Foyer
(1937, Pietermaritzburg–1986, Serowe)

Bessie Head is regarded as one of Botswana literature’s most poignant voices. She was born in a sanatorium at the Fort Napier Hospital in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal (at that time Natal), South Africa. The child of a white mother and a Black father, she was immediately adopted after birth as the relationship between Head’s parents was illegal at the time under South Africa’s Immorality Act. Her writings resist any categorization, dealing with both ideals of justice and equality as well as the psychological impact of social and gender relations within the apartheid system. Her major works include: When Rain Clouds Gather (1969); Maru (1971); Question of Power (1973); and The Collector of Treasures (1977).

Magnus Hirschfeld Bar
(1868, Kolberg–1935, Nice)

Magnus Hirschfeld was a Jewish-German physician, sexologist, empiricist, and socialist. He opposed the idea that same-sex attraction was pathological and advocated for the rights of queer people, co-founding a homosexual rights organization, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (WhK), in 1897. The Institute of Sexology, which he founded in Berlin in 1919 (HKW stands on part of the former site), was destroyed in 1933 and his books were burnt when the National Socialist Party came to power, forcing him into exile. His writings translated into English include: Sappho and Socrates: How Does One Explain the Love of Men and Women to Persons of Their Own Sex? (1896/2019); Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress (1910/2010); Why Do Nations Hate Us? A Reflection on the Psychology of War (1915/2020); and Racism (1938) .

In 2015, HKW’s bar was named after Hirschfeld. To preserve the legacy of his progressive work, this space remains the Magnus Hirschfeld Bar and is complemented by the adjacent Lili Elbe Garden.

Ika Hügel-Marshall Entrance
(1947, Roth–2022, Berlin)

Ika Hügel-Marshall was an Afro-German writer, educator, and activist. Born to an African American soldier and a German mother, she was sent to an orphanage at five, where she suffered severe racial discrimination. Her time in the orphanage inspired her to later improve the living standards of a Frankfurt am Main children's home. She was a member of the Afro-German women's movement (ADEFRA) and helped found the Initiative Schwarze Deutsche [Black German initiative]), befriending Audre Lorde around this time, whose poetry inspired her to fight for Black women’s rights. The English translation of her autobiography Invisible Woman. Growing up Black in Germany was published in 2021. She also co-wrote the screenplay for Audre LordeThe Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 (2020).

Jacqueline Kahanoff Offices
(1917 Cairo–1979, Tel Aviv)

Jacqueline Kahanoff was born to a French-speaking Jewish family in Cairo, and later studied at Columbia University in New York City. Through her work as a novelist, essayist, editor, and journalist, she put forth a concept of ‘Levantinism’—a vision of hybridity, cosmopolitanism, and polyphonic identity influenced by her experience of Egyptian society in the interwar period—which critiqued western notions of multiculturalism, took into account the role of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews in the region, and questioned the rigid gender roles she grew up with. She is best known for the cycle of essays, ‘A Generation of Levantines’ (1959), a four-part collection that explores the potential for pluralism in the Levant, as well as her novel Jacob’s Ladder (1951). 

Les Nana Benz Terrace
(1960s–1980s, Lomé)

Togolese women known as Les Nana Benz were instrumental in developing the wax fabric industry. Their name is a neologism: ‘nana’ means ‘mother’ or ‘grandmother’, and ‘Benz’ refers to the luxury car they drove. In the 1960s, when political unrest in Ghana prevented the import of textiles, these women saw an opportunity and began importing Dutch wax cloth from Indonesia, eventually becoming distributors of wax fabrics, buying and reselling them in large quantities to retailers in Togo. From this, they established a monopoly in print design—a visual language of symbols, colours, and slogans that functioned as a tool for promoting political balance and creating a product which African women could identify with and feel empowered through.

Miriam Makeba Auditorium
(1932, Johannesburg–2008, Castel Volturno)

Miriam Makeba was a South African singer, composer, actress, and human rights activist. With her soulful voice, she sang the pain of her long thirty-one-year exile and became a spokesperson for anti-apartheid and anti-racist movements in the US, South Africa, and across the world. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, Makeba returned to South Africa, where she lived with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and continued to perform against anti-Black violence. Among her memorable albums are: The Many Voices of Miriam Makeba (1962); An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba (1965); The Queen of African Music (1987); Welela (1989); and Homeland (2000).

Mrinalini Mukherjee Hall
(1949, Mumbai–2015, New Delhi)

Mrinalini Mukherjee was a dedicated Indian sculptor. She worked with natural fibre for much of her four-decade career before exploring ceramic and metal. Indian sculpture, traditional art, Hindu mythology, modern design, and regional fabrics and crafts influenced her aesthetic. Mukherjee employed instinctual, laborious handwork to create unusual, mysterious, and erotic forms that challenged the boundary between reality and abstraction. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, 2015; the Met Breuer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2019; and has been featured, amongst others, at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2018, and the 59th Venice Biennale, 2022.

Paulette Nardal Terrace
(1896, Le François–1985, Fort-de-France)

Paulette Nardal was a journalist, translator, and leading voice of the Négritude movement. In 1920, she became Martinique’s first Black student at Sorbonne Université, Paris. In 1929, Nardal and her sisters founded Le Salon de Clamart in the city, where Black intellectuals of the diaspora discussed colonialism in Africa and racial prejudice in the United States and West Indies. In 1946 Nadal was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations and in 1948 she returned to Martinique, where she continued to support the anti-colonial cause. She was the founder of the journals La Revue du Monde Noir (1931–32) and La Femme dans la Cite (1945–51).

Beatriz Nascimento Hall
(1942, Aracaju–1995, Rio de Janeiro)

Throughout her life, Brazilian Black radical thinker, historian, scriptwriter, and poet Beatriz Nascimento combined activism with academia. She dedicated much of her work to the quilombos, autonomous communities of resistance established by enslaved people and their descendants, as part of her academic research but also as part of her personal trajectory in the anti-racist struggle. Nascimento helped bring recognition to quilombola lands and fought against Brazil’s ‘racial democracy’, which Black people were forced to tolerate and live under. Her essays are included in two Portuguese collections: Eu sou atlântica [I am Atlantic, 2007] and Quilombola e intelectual: possibilidade nos dias de destruição [Quilombola and intellectual: Possibility in the days of destruction, 2018].

Itō Noe Entrance
(1895, Imajuku–1923, Tokyo)

Itō Noe was a Japanese journalist and anarchist feminist during the Meiji and Taishō periods. She began contributing to Seitō [Bluestocking] magazine at the age of seventeen and became its editor-in-chief two years later, shifting the magazine’s emphasis to the emancipation of women and topics such as sex work, free love, and abortion, which remain controversial topics in Japan. Her writings challenged the framework of the traditional Japanese household and the marriage system, demonstrating her radical politics and their intersection with issues like intimacy and relationships. Since her brutal death at the hands of military police, her work has continued to resonate within Japanese radical thought.

Bertha Parker Pallan Space
(1907, Chautauqua County–1978, Los Angeles)

Bertha Parker Pallan is considered one of the first female Native American (Abenaki and Seneca) archaeologists. Acquiring knowledge outside of an academic institution, she used unconventional methods in the 1930 Gypsum Cave expedition when she found the entire skull of a long-extinct giant ground sloth adjacent to human artefacts. Her findings proved sloths and tool-using humans shared the cave 10,000 years ago at what was North America’s first human settlement. She excavated and documented other sites, reporting her findings in scientific papers such as ‘Kachina Dolls’ (1939); ‘California Indian Baby Cradles’ (1940); and a number of articles on the Yurok Tribe, including ‘Some Yurok Customs and Beliefs’ (1942 and 1943).

Violeta Parra Reflecting Pool
(1917, San Carlos–1967, Santiago)

Violeta Parra came from a musical family, and with the support of her father, a music teacher, began writing songs at an early age, getting her start performing in bars, circuses, and ballrooms. Best known as one of the founders of the Nueva Canción (New Song) sociopolitical movement, she was a multifaceted Chilean folklorist who also painted and sculpted, wrote poetry, and wove arpilleras (folk tapestries). Nueva Canción is characterized by folk-inspired sounds, featuring Parra’s complementary instrument, the guitarrón—a traditional Chilean guitar-like instrument with twenty-five strings—as well as politically-charged lyrics. Parra’s exploration of the genre brought renewed interest in Chilean folklore, influencing several Latin American artists for generations to come.

Sharmila Rege Entrance
(1964, Pune–2013, Pune)

Sharmila Rege was an Indian feminist sociologist and educator. She attempted to deconstruct the sociological notion of ‘common sense’ through a feminist lens in order to offer a different perspective on the relation between sociology, class, and gender. She also showed the links between western patriarchy, colonial history, and India’s traditional caste system, arguing for a Dalit feminist perspective. She introduced a multilingual curriculum at Pune University’s Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Centre, where she taught. Her seminal works include: ‘Institutional Alliance between Sociology and Gender Studies: Story of the Crocodile and Monkey’ (1997); Writing Caste/Writing Gender: Reading Dalit’s Women Testimonials (2006); and Against the Madness of Manu (2013).

Nawal El Saadawi Entrance
(1931, Kafr Tahlah–2021, Cairo)

Nawal El Saadawi was a doctor, human rights activist, prolific writer, and socialist-feminist thinker. She published over fifty books of fiction and non-fiction in Arabic; many of which were translated and received global attention. Saadawi’s early works include a selection of short stories entitled I Learned Love (1957) and her first novel, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor (1958). Her personal memoir, Memoir from the Women’s Prison (1986), details her time spent in the Qanatir Women’s Prison for critiquing a lack of democratic policies during Anwat Sadat’s presidency. Forced to flee Egypt due to political persecution in 1993, Saadawi taught in the US before returning to Egypt in 1996 where she remained a prominent activist.

Anna Seghers Garden
(1900, Mainz–1983, Berlin)

Anna Seghers was a Jewish-German writer. When the National Socialist Party rose to power, her books were banned and burned, and she was forced to flee to France and Mexico. She later returned to Germany, moving first to West Berlin in 1947 and then to East Berlin in 1950, where she became a prominent voice on literary discourse and social justice issues. She was a founding member of the GDR’s Academy of the Arts and later joined the World Peace Council. She is the author of novels The Seventh Cross (1939) and The Dead Stay Young (1949), which examine the connection between state violence, capitalism, and fascism, as well as nearly sixty short stories and essays.

Nise da Silveira Offices
(1905, Maceió–1999, Rio de Janeiro)

Brazilian psychiatrist Nise da Silveira revolutionized mental health care in the mid-twentieth century, opposing practices such as electroshock therapy and lobotomy. Jailed in 1936 due to her anti-military political activism, during the 1940s she worked at the Pedro II National Psychiatric Centre in Rio de Janeiro, where she introduced painting and clay modelling as mental health care. Art therapy enabled patients to express their deepest fears and the resulting artworks were collected by da Silveira in the Museu de Imagens do Inconsciente, which she founded in 1952. Among her works are: Imagens do inconsciente [Images of the unconscious, 1981] and O mundo das imagens [The world of images, 1992].

Angie Stardust Foyer
(1939, Norfolk–2007, Hamburg)

Raised in Harlem, Angie Stardust was a legendary Black drag queen, trans* performer, soul singer, film actor, and nightclub manager. By the age of fourteen, she had confronted racism and trans hostility at New York City venues like the 82 Club and as part of the Jewel Box Revue touring company. She toured Europe when she was nineteen, performing at Chez Nous in West Berlin, and permanently relocated to Hamburg in 1983. Before launching Angie’s Nightclub in 1991, her own club in the city, she ran Crazy Boys, the first all-male strip club in Germany, and became a star of the Pulverfass Cabaret. She appeared in several films, including: Hard Women (1970); Die Alptraumfrau (1981); City of Lost Souls (1983); and Crazy Boys (1987).

Maria Katrina Stenberg Room
(1884, Arvidsjaur–1969, Arvidsjaur)

Maria Katrina Stenberg was a Sami civil rights activist, teacher, and investigator for Svenska Samers Riksförbund [National Federation of Swedish Sami]. Her commitment was entirely devoted to the preservation of the Sami language and traditions, and the protection of reindeer herders, forests, and the Sami church town of Lappstaden. She helped to correct the Social-Darwinist image of Sami people, which matched the larger Swedish population’s ethnocentric and colonial views. In 1920, she co-authored (with Valdemar Lindholm) the polemical manifesto Dat Läh Mijen Situd!: Det är vår vilja: En vädjan till Svenska Nationen från Samefolket [This is our wish: An appeal to the Swedish nation from the Sami people].

Ceija Stojka Foyer
(1933, Kraubath an der Mur–2013, Vienna)

Born into a Lovara-Roma family, Ceija Stojka was an Austrian-Romani writer, artist, and musician. Deported under the National Socialist regime, she spent her childhood in three concentration camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Ravensbrück, and Bergen-Belsen. As a survivor, she advocated for the recognition of the Roma and Sinti genocide carried out by fascist regimes across Europe. Stojka recounted her life experiences in her paintings and written works such as: Travellers on This World (1992); the poetry collection Meine Wahl zu schreiben – ich kann es nicht (2003); I Dream That I am Alive – Liberated From Bergen-Belsen (2005); and Even Death is Afraid of Auschwitz (2014).

Gunta Stölzl Foyer
(1897, Munich–1983, Zurich)

German textile artist Gunta Stölzl was central to the development of the Bauhaus’s famed weaving workshop. After beginning her studies in 1919 at the Bauhaus in Weimar, she collaborated with Marcel Breuer on the African Chair (1921), which includes textiles she wove freehand directly onto the frame. The only female Bauhaus Meister (Master) and director of the weaving workshop in Dessau from 1927–31, Stölzl challenged the gendered connotations of textiles as decor and ‘women’s work’ through her interest in the technical aspects of textile production as well as in her focus on the visual language of modern art, particularly abstraction, to underline their aesthetic qualities. In 1931, Stölzl was dismissed from the Bauhaus for political reasons by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Teresia Teaiwa Room
(1968, Honolulu–2017, Wellington)

Teresia Teaiwa was born to an i-Kiribati father and African American mother and was raised in Fiji. Teaiwa is internationally known for her groundbreaking work in Pacific Studies. Her practice as researcher in this interdisciplinary field embraced her artistic and political approaches, and encompassed contemporary issues in Fiji, feminism and women’s activism in the Pacific, and contemporary Pacific culture and arts. She was the author of the poetry collection, Searching for Nei Nim'anoa (1995) and co-author of Last Virgin in Paradise: A One-Act Play (1993, with Vilsoni Hereniko).

Awa Thiam Offices
(1950, Senegal)

Awa Thiam is a Senegalese theorist, researcher, and campaigner for African women’s rights. She earned PhDs in cultural anthropology and philosophy at Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, respectively. She later returned to Senegal, where she was elected Minister of Health and Social Action; President of the Commission for Health, Population, Social Affairs, and Solidarity; and co-founder of the Alliance for a New Citizenship in Dakar. She also founded the Commission for the Abolition of Sexual Mutilation (CAMS) in 1982. Her most influential work, La parole aux négresses (1978), is translated into English as Black Sisters, Speak Out: Feminism and Oppression in Black Africa (1986).

Haunani-Kay Trask Hall
(1949, San Francisco–2021, Honolulu)

Professor and poet Haunani-Kay Trask was a visionary leader of the Hawai’ian sovereignty movement and the founding director of Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawai’ian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. As a native of Windward Oahu, she supported Indigenous nations transnationally while condemning what she termed the colonization and desecration of her native land, the secrets of which she longed to protect from American imperialism and the tourism industry. Trask eloquently described her political perspective in two books of poetry: Light in the Crevice Never Seen (1994) and Night Is a Sharkskin Drum (2002); and two scholarly works: Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory (1986) and From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii (1993).

Sylvia Wynter Foyer
(1928, Holguín)

Sylvia Wynter is a Jamaican writer, theorist, dramatist, and cultural practitioner. Through her work, Wynter questions the colonial universalization of white Western European humanism. Using multidisciplinary research, she advocates for a radical humanism that aims to re-enchant the world and can be found in places of non-conformity and social life, from libraries to each other’s arms. Among her most influential works are: The Hills of Hebron (1992); the text ‘Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation—An Argument’ (2003); and We Must Learn to Sit Down Together and Talk About a Little Culture: Decolonizing Essays 19671984 (2022), as well as her seminal unpublished manuscript ‘Black Metamorphosis: New Natives in a New World’.

He-Yin Zhen Foyer
(1884, Yizheng–c.1920, China)

Theorist and anarchist He-Yin Zhen contributed to the establishment of Chinese feminism. As editor of the prominent feminist-anarchist journal Tianyi bao (1908–9), her writings on the trans-historicity and globality of the relationship between patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism, and gender subjugation were deemed dangerous and erased from the historical record. Zhen challenged traditional accounts of women and modern history, anticipating intersectional and transnational feminist analysis. Among her most notable articles translated into English are: ‘On the Question of Women’s Liberation’; ‘Economic Revolution And Women’s Revolution’; ‘On Feminist Antimilitarism’; and ‘The Feminist Manifesto’ (all 1907).

May Ziadeh Library
(1886, Nazareth–1941, Cairo)

May Ziadeh, born in Palestine to a Lebanese father and a Palestinian mother, is one of the most important literary renaissance leaders in Arab female literature. An early advocate of feminist thought in the literature scene, she was a journalist, a Romantic poet, novelist, literary critic, salonnière, and translator. In 1911, Ziadeh founded a weekly salon that would run for twenty years, bringing together politically active men and women during the height of Egyptian anti-colonial struggle. Her major works include: Sawâneh fatât [Platters of Crumbs]; Al-Musâwât [Equality]; the biographies of three prominent feminists, Bahithat al-Badiyah (1920), Warda al-Yaziji, and Aʼishah Taymur (both 1926); and a collection of poems in French, Fleurs de rêve (1911).