The CLR James Journal

Volume 17, Issue 1, Fall 2011

On the Emancipatory Thought of bell hooks

Make Fitts
Pages 112-132

Theorizing Transformative Revolutionary Action
The Contribution of bell hooks to Emancipatory Knowledge Production

bell hooks is one of the seminal feminist theoreticians whose body of work not only provides discursive understandings of intersectional modes of oppression, but also a conceptual roadmap for creating the material conditions that lead to social transformation. In this essay, I posit the formulation of a theory of transformative revolutionary action that comes out of hoolis' ruminations on the following concepts: marginality as a position and place of resistance, killing rage, revolutionary interdependency and the politics of sisterhood, and the beloved community and the politics of love. These concepts form the basis for imagining a community of individuals committed to advancing feminist principles through revolutionary action that promotes social transformation, hool identifies the spatial, emotional, and interpersonal factors that contribute to a praxis-oriented transgressive politic, and reminds feminist academics of our place in social movement work, which is to construct the theoretical, conceptual and empirical apparatus to bolster feminist activism. While her ideas are not without criticism, the dialectical tension among feminist thinkers ultimately leads to a more profound, nuanced understanding of womens experiences that will then inform feminist activism.