February 13, 2022 at 2:40 PM #8879SUCULTUREAdminLondon, United Kingdom
bell hooks remembered:
Today I write about bell hooks; a radical Black feminist, academic, cultural critic, thinker, social activist and author.
Her writings helped define intersectional feminist theory, recognising social classifications, including gender, ethnic groupings and social status, etc, as interconnected. hooks argued that not bringing these structured and endemic social issues into mainstream academic or political discourse, creates a complex system of oppression towards women (and women of other marginalized identities) and their lived experience.
Her seminal Aint I a women? first published in 1981, totally transformed the universal worldview and ideology of women of African descent; making Black feminism in this area more understood, relatable, and applicable.
As a poet, and writer, she wrote about the influence of Black visual artists such as Renee Cox, Lorna Simpson and Kerry James Marshall, and how their artistic expression produced parallel universes, providing a portal to a form of Black liberation. Verbatim;
“Using images, we connect ourselves to a recuperative, redemptive memory that enables us to construct radical identities, images of ourselves that transcends the limits of the colonizing eye”.
bell hooks understood that to change the normative-hermeneutics of the Black experience, the existing dominant patriarchal structure had to be first destroyed, and then rebuilt.
In her trilogy, detailing theories of transformational education, consisting; Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (1994), Teaching Community (2003), and Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom (2019). She writes;
“no education is politically neutral. Emphasizing that a white male professor in an English department who teaches only work by “great white men” is making a political decision, we had to work consistently against and through the overwhelming will on the part of folks to deny the politics of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and so forth that inform how and what we teach. We found again and again that almost everyone, especially the old guard, were more disturbed by the overt recognition of the role our political perspectives play in shaping pedagogy than by their passive acceptance of ways of teaching and learning that reflect biases, particularly a white supremacist standpoint.”
“…. But learning is a place where paradise can be created. The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility.”
hooks’ influence has been deep and comprehensive within and outside academia. Her work has played a critical and indispensable role in establishing the structures for third-wave intersectional feminism, helping women have a better grasp of their axis-tilting leverage, through her critical theories on the intersection of race, gender and society.
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