bell hooks

bell hooks was the author of numerous critically acclaimed and influential books on the politics of race, gender, class, and culture. She passed away in December 2021 at the age of sixty-nine. One of America’s leading public intellectuals, she was a charismatic speaker who divided her time between teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world. In this Reading List, Between the Lines has gathered some of her most powerful works to celebrate the life of this renowned author and activist. Rest in power.

Ain’t I a Woman

Black Women and Feminism

By bell hooks

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This landmark work of history and theory challenges every accepted notion about the nature of black women’s lives. Ain’t I A Woman examines the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the historic devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism within the recent women’s movement, and black women’s involvement with feminism. bell hooks’ insight as a black woman and a feminist extends the scope of feminist theory and practice for us all, and marks the emergence of a revitalized feminism in the 1980s.

Sisters of the Yam

Black Women and Self-Recovery

By bell hooks

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When Sisters of the Yam was originally released in 1994, it won critical praise and solidified bell hooks’ reputation as one of the leading public intellectuals of her generation. Today, the book is considered a classic in African American and feminist circles, and provides a launching point for much of hooks’ later work. Tackling such issues as addiction, truth-telling, work, grieving, spirituality, and eroticism, hooks shares numerous strategies for self-recovery that can heal individuals and inspire struggle against racism, sexism, and consumer capitalism. Sisters of the Yam stands apart as a self-help book, hooks said, because it links self-recovery with political resistance.

Black Looks

Race and Representation

By bell hooks

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Taking on popular music, advertising, literature, television, historical narrative, and film, bell hooks demonstrated the incisive intelligence and passion for justice that prompted Publishers Weekly to dub her “one of the foremost black intellectuals in America today.”

Talking Back

Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black

By bell hooks

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An investigation of feminist theory written in an accessible style and grounded in personal testimony, this volume includes chapters on feminist scholarship, feminism and militarism, homophobia in Black communities, self-recovery, violence in intimate relationships, overcoming white supremacy, and class and education.

Breaking Bread

Insurgent Black Intellectual Life

By bell hooks and Cornel West

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In this captivating dialogue, bell hooks and American philosopher and political activist Cornel West grapple with the dilemmas, contradictions, and joys of Black intellectual life, touching on theology, contemporary music, film, and fashion.

Yearning

Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics

By bell hooks

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In Yearning, bell hooks crossed boundaries in major debates on postmodern theory, cultural criticism, and the politics of race and gender. She warned that “discourse” about “difference” is dangerously detachable from more essential struggles.