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The CLR James Journal

Volume 17, Issue 1, Fall 2011

On the Emancipatory Thought of bell hooks

Tracey Nicholls
Pages 10-36

Pedagogy of the Privileged

In this paper, I examine the ways bell hooks has adapted the model of liberatory pedagogy that Brazilian educator Paulo Freire expounded in Pedagogy of the Oppressed to the students one encounters in the significantly more materially privileged North American context. I begin with an overview of Freire's idea of educating the oppressed about oppression and then move to examination of the different, yet related, challenge that hooks is taking on: educating the privileged about oppression. I deploy these analyses of emancipatory teaching in two different contexts, both grounded in a philosophy of love, in order to show the extent to which this theorizing has helped those of us who attempt to advance a progressive politics in wealthy and/or privileged societies.