bell hooks

Activist / Writer
Date Of Birth:
25 September 1952
Date Of Death:
15 December 2021
Place Of Birth:
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Best Known As:
Black feminist critic of "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy"

Name at birth: Gloria Jean Watkins

Dr. bell hooks (who spelled her name without capitals) was one of the most widely published black feminist scholars in the United States. An outspoken cultural critic, educational theorist and professor of English, bell hooks was famous for her analyses of the politics of race, gender, class and culture, and for her attacks on what she called the "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" (coined in 1989's Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black). Though her birth name was Gloria Jean Watkins, "she adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as a pen name, since she so admired her, but used lowercase letters to distinguish herself from her family member," according to a 2021 story in The Guardian. The author herself said the name celebrated female legacies and was 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). bell hooks taught at the University of Southern California, Oberlin College, Yale University, and as Distinguished Professor of English at The City College of New York. Beginning in 2oo4, she was a professor at Berea College, a Kentucky school that offers free tuition. In 2010, Berea created the bell hooks Institute to house her personal papers and collection of modern African-American art.
Extra Credit

bell hooks wrote three children’s books, including Happy to be Nappy… She earned 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… bell hooks 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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