Bell Hooks Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death | Who was Bell Hooks? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Bell Hooks?

Gloria Jean Watkins (September 25, 1952 – December 15, 2021), better known by her pen name Bell Hooks, was an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. The name “bell hooks” is borrowed from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.

Bell Hooks, Groundbreaking Feminist Thinker, Dies at 69

Bell Hooks, Groundbreaking Feminist Thinker, Dies at 69
Bell Hooks, Groundbreaking Feminist Thinker, Dies at 69

Bell Hooks, the groundbreaking author, educator, and activist whose explorations of how race, gender, economics, and politics were intertwined made her among the most influential thinkers of her time, has died. She was 69.

In a statement issued through William Morrow Publishers, hooks’ family announced that she died Wednesday in Berea, Kentucky, home to the bell hooks center at Berea College. Additional details were not immediately available.

“She was a giant, no-nonsense person who lived by her own rules, and spoke her own truth in a time when Black people, and women especially, did not feel empowered to do that,” Dr. Linda Strong-Leek, a close friend and former provost of Berea College, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “It was a privilege to know her, and the world is a lesser place today because she is gone. There will never be another bell hooks.”

Starting in the 1970s, hooks published dozens of books that helped shape popular and academic discourse. Her notable works included “Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism,” “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center” and “All About Love: New Visions.” Rejecting the isolation of feminism, civil rights and economics into separate fields, she was a believer in community and connectivity and how racism, sexism and economic disparity reinforced each other.

Among her most famous expressions was her definition of feminism, which she called “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.”

Ibram X. Kendi, Roxane Gay, and Tressie McMillan Cottom were among those mourning hooks. Author Saeed Jones noted that her death came just a week after the loss of the celebrated Black author and critic Greg Tate. “It all feels so pointed,” he tweeted Wednesday.

Bell Hooks Biography, Wiki

Born Gloria Jean Watkins on September 25, 1952, bell hooks was raised in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, a small, segregated (separated by race) town in rural Kentucky. She recalled her neighborhood as a “world where folks were content to get by on a little, where Baba, mama’s mother, made soap, dug fishing worms, set traps for rabbits, made butter and wine, sewed quilts, and wrung the necks of chickens.”

She later explained how this community turned the hardships created by racism (the idea that one race is superior to another) into a source of strength. The neighborhood where she grew up provided young Gloria with her resistance to racism, but it also provided her with the negative and positive experiences that would shape her feminism (support of equal rights for women).

Gloria was one of six siblings: five sisters and a baby brother. Her father worked as a janitor, and her mother, Rosa Bell Oldham Watkins, worked as a maid in the homes of white families.

As a student at segregated public schools, hooks was taught by a dedicated group of teachers, most single black women, who helped to shape the self-esteem (satisfaction with oneself) of children of color.

But in the late 1960s, Kentucky schools became desegregated. By the time she was ten, hooks had begun writing her own poetry and soon developed a reputation for her ability to recite poetry.

Bell Hooks Biography Wikipedia
Bell Hooks
BornGloria Jean Watkins
September 25, 1952
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedDecember 15, 2021 (aged 69)
Berea, Kentucky, U.S.
EducationStanford University (BA)
University of Wisconsin–Madison (MA)
The University of California, Santa Cruz (Ph.D.)
Years active1978–2018
Known forOppositional gaze
Notable workAin’t I a Woman? (1981)Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984)All About Love: New Visions (2000)We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity (2004)

Bell Hooks Career

Hooks’ academic career began in 1976 as an English professor and senior lecturer in ethnic studies at the University of Southern California. During her three years there, Golemics, a Los Angeles publisher, released her first published work, a chapbook of poems titled And There We Wept (1978), written under the name “bell hooks”.

She adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as a pen name because her great-grandmother “was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which [she] greatly admired”.

She put the name in lowercase letters “to distinguish [herself from] her great-grandmother.” She said that her unconventional lowercasing of her name signified that what is most important to focus upon is her works, not her personal qualities: the “substance of books, not who I am.”

She taught at several post-secondary institutions in the early 1980s and 1990s, including the University of California, Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, Yale (1985 to 1988, as assistant professor of African and Afro-American studies and English), Oberlin College (1988 to 1994, as associate professor of American literature and women’s studies), and beginning in 1994, as distinguished professor of English at City College of New York.

In 1981 South End Press published her first major work, Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, though it was written years earlier while she was an undergraduate student. In the decades since its publication, Ain’t I a Woman? has been recognized for its contribution to feminist thought, with Publishers Weekly in 1992 naming it “One of the twenty most influential women’s books in the last 20 years.” 

Writing in The New York Times in 2019, Min Jin Lee said that Ain’t I a Woman “remains a radical and relevant work of political theory. hooks lays the groundwork of her feminist theory by giving historical evidence of the specific sexism that black female slaves endured and how that legacy affects black womanhood today”. 

Ain’t I a Woman? examines themes including the historical impact of sexism and racism on black women, devaluation of black womanhood, media roles and portrayal, the education system, the idea of a white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy, the marginalization of black women, and the disregard for issues of race and class within feminism.bell hooks in 2009

hooks also became significant as a leftist and postmodern political thinker and cultural critic. She published more than 30 books, ranging in topics from black men, patriarchy, and masculinity to self-help; engaged pedagogy to personal memoirs; and sexuality (in regards to feminism and politics of aesthetics and visual culture). 

Reel to Real: race, sex, and class at the movies (1996) collects film essays, reviews, and interviews with film directors. In The New Yorker, Hua Hsu said these interviews displayed the facet of hooks’s work that was “curious, empathetic, searching for comrades”.

In Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984), hooks develops a critique of white feminist racism in second-wave feminism, which she argued undermined the possibility of feminist solidarity across racial lines.

Bell Hooks argued that communication and literacy (the ability to read, write, and think critically) are necessary for the feminist movement because without them people may not grow to recognize gender inequalities in society.

In 2002, hooks gave a commencement speech at Southwestern University. Eschewing the congratulatory mode of traditional commencement speeches, she spoke against what she saw as government-sanctioned violence and oppression and admonished students who she believed went along with such practices. 

The Austin Chronicle reported that many in the audience booed the speech, though “several graduates passed over the provost to shake her hand or give her a hug”.

In 2004, she joined Berea College as Distinguished Professor in Residence. Her 2008 book, belonging: a culture of the place, includes an interview with author Wendell Berry as well as a discussion of her move back to Kentucky. She was a scholar in residence at The New School on three occasions.

She was inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame in 2018.

Bell Hooks FAQ’s

Who was Bell Hooks?

Gloria Jean Watkins (September 25, 1952 – December 15, 2021), better known by her pen name Bell Hooks, was an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. The name “bell hooks” is borrowed from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.

How did Bell Hooks die?

Bell Hooks’s cause of death is not known.

How old was Bell Hooks?

Bell Hooks died at 69.

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