Life needs more bell hooks

by - Saturday, March 05, 2011

This week, another blogger mentioned reading the wonderful and brilliant bell hooks, which made me think about how much I miss reading this incredible writer. I actually was introduced to bell hooks first as providing a model of feminist pedagogy at the writing center. There we thought about how love has a place in learning when its done through non-directive collaboration. To really listen to someone, in a weird way, is to love them; I think this is why people who work at the Penn State Writing Center love it forever. Loving when you teach means something that sticks with you.

Only later did I read the books on feminism and art, and even of those I wish I could read more (I've only read Feminist Theory from Margin to Center and Outlaw Culture). Here are a few bell hooks quotes that I love:

"For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?"
"To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds."

"Feminist education — the feminist classroom — is and should be a place where there is a sense of struggle, where there is visible acknowledgment of the union of theory and practice, where we work together as teachers and students to overcome the estrangement and alienation that have become so much the norm in the contemporary university."

"I have been thinking about the notion of perfect love as being without fear, and what that means for us in a world that's becoming increasingly xenophobic, tortured by fundamentalism and nationalism."
"Some people act as though art that is for a mass audience is not good art, and I think this has been a very negative thing. I know that I have wanted very much to write books that are accessible to the widest audience possible."
"I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance."

"Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust."

"If I do not speak in a language that can be understood there is little chance for a dialogue."

This is my favorite:
"I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this “In order to love you, I must make you something else”. That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you."

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  1. where have you been all my life, barbara?! its kind of a bummer to know that we could have been talking about bell hooks and listening to sleater-kinney together in high school! that last one is one of my favorite's too, but they're all great, really.