Bell HooksWriter / Activist
Born: 25 September 1952
Birthplace: Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Best known as:
Black feminist critic of "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy"
Name at birth: Gloria Jean Watkins
Bell Hooks (who spells her name without capitals) is one of the most widely published black feminist scholars in the U.S. An outspoken cultural critic, educational theorist and professor of English, she is famous for her analyses of the politics of race, gender, class and culture, and for her attacks on what she calls the "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" (coined in 1989's Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black). She has taught at the University of Southern California, Oberlin College, Yale University and as Distinguished Professor of English at The City College of New York. Her pseudonym, her great-grandmother's name, celebrates female legacies and is in lower case because "it is the substance of my books, not who is writing them, that is important." Her works include Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (1981), Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (1994), Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies (1996), Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (2000) and Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope (2003).
Hooks has written three children's books, including Happy to be Nappy... She holds a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she also taught for a time... She appears in the documentary films Baadasssss Cinema (2002), analyzing the "blaxpoitation" genre; My Feminism (1997); and Give a Damn Again (1995), the latter with Cornel West, with whom she also co-authored the 1991 book, Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life
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