I am very sorry about being such a lousy host this past month, or rather, disappearing completely. Life has been crazy and I cannot give you any more excuses than that. Below you will find a small introduction to Bell Hooks. As I haven’t finished the book myself, I do not have discussion questions, but I do hope some of you have written about it and will post the links here. I will edit the post as people comment. I personally only finished the introduction, but knew immediately that I had to finish it sometime soon. She raises such interesting points and it baffled me how I never looked beyond the issue of whether race was at all mentioned in feminist text, to ask how it was represented.
bell hooks is the pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins. She was born on September 25, 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Her childhood was spent in a working class family of five sisters and one brother and her school career started out at a racially segregated school. She received a BA in English from Stanford University and a Master in the same subject from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967. Her doctorate studies were completed in 1983 with a dissertation on Toni Morrison.
Gloria Jean Watkins’ interest revolve around the intersection of race class and gender and how these categories work to perpetrate systems of oppression. Her first book, Ain’t I a Woman? was written as an undergraduate and published while she was not yet a doctorate, in 1981. She published a collection of poems before this book ‘An There We Wept’ in 1978, also under her pen name bell hooks. She choose this name because it was the name of her grandmother, who she says was “known for her snappy and bold tongue, which [she] greatly admired.” The lower case lettering was chosen to distinguish herself from her grandmother.
Ain’t I a Woman has since become an influential work of postmodern feminist thought. In it, bell hooks tackles questions of the devaluation of black womanhood, the marginalisation of black women, the disregard for questions of class and race within feminism and the influence of media and representation on these issues.
Since 1981, she has published a wide range of books, most of which tackle the issues of feminism, race, representation and media from a postmodern perspective.
Have you written about bell hooks’ Ain’t I a Woman? Then leave a comment below and I will compile an overview post as soon as possible.
About the collection of essays that is also listed for this month. We originally included it because of the article “Under Western Eyes” by Chandra Talpade Mohanty. I have reviewed it previously here. It is an interesting article and related to “Ain’t I a Woman?” in that it raises questions about the disregard for colonial discourses in feminist studies.
However, there are many more interesting articles in “Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism Anthology”. There is one, for example, that explores the many ways in which women’s rights and headscarves were used in politics of the Revolution in Iran.
My original idea was to request whether people wanted to read specific articles and then sent me a link, or a review, of the article, by email. I would then compose an over view post or several guest posts throughout the month. If anyone is up for it, I would still like to do so, and post throughout the months November and December.
Again, I am sorry for the rubbish hosting this month.
For anyone who is wondering: I haven’t yet wrapped up “The Second Sex” because it appears only Ingrid reviewed it up to now.