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Bell Hooks      

Author, Professor, Feminist, & Social Activist

bell hooks is an acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, and decided not to capitalize her new name to place focus on her work and not her identity. She has authored over three dozen books and has published works that span several genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children's books. Her writings cover topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture.

In 1973, she obtained her B.A. in English from Stanford University, and continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she would later receive her M.A. in English in 1976. After her graduation, bell hooks received a professorship and senior lectureship in Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California. She also taught at the University of California-Santa Cruz, San Francisco University during this period. In 1983, the University of California-Santa Cruz awarded her a PhD after the completion of a dissertation on author Toni Morrison.

In 1981, she released the book "Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism," and many view this as bell hooks first major work and one of the key works of feminist thought in the postmodern milieu. This text interrogates the impact of sexist and racist social structures on the history of black women, which has led to the debasement of black women and their social standing.

In a truly postmodern fashion, bell hooks oscillates between different media, different writing tones, and different rhetorical forms in order to get to the heart of her concerns. Her concern for accessibility has led to bell hooks to giving lectures in open venues, participating in documentaries, and writing for mainstream magazines. Some of her publications include, "Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem," "Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom," "Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics," "Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope," and more.

In 2014, hooks founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in hopes of bring together academics with local community members to study, learn and engage in critical dialogue.

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Cultural Critic

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