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The CLR James Journal

Volume 17
On the Emancipatory Thought of bell hooks

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1. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Paget Henry Editors Note
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2. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Tracey Nicholls Introduction: bell hooks' Contributions to Emancipatory Thought
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i. pedagogy
3. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Tracey Nicholls Pedagogy of the Privileged
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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.
4. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Anne Rapp Translating Critical Pedagogy into Action: Facilitating Adult Learning
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Critical pedagogy, by brealdng down the boundaries between the academy and society, creates opportunities for deep and transformative learning. Inspired by bell hooks' call to engage the hearts as well as the minds of learners, this essay demonstrates two teaching methods that engage college students in intellectual inquiry that potentially challenges and undermines societal power relations. The first literally broadens the walls of the classroom through community-based projects. The second constructs an in-class learning experience that cultivates inter-personal perspective taking by simulating arbitrary and systemic inequality. Both approaches inherently question received relationships of power, within and outside of the classroom, by creating opportunities for learners to transgress the boundaries imposed by individual experience, enabling them to envision connections across social and economic difference. Through active learning experiences that connect affective responses to new learning, students gain insight into the ways systems of domination construct social privilege and structural oppression. Urging all of us to open our minds and hearts so that we can know beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable, so that we can think and rethink, so that we can create new visions, I celebrate teaching that enables transgressions—a movement against and beyond boundaries. It is that movement which makes education the practice of freedom. bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress (1994: 12)
5. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth A. Hoppe How to Persuade Those Who Will Not Listen: Plato, Freire, and hooks on Revolutionary Dialogue
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Western philosophy owes its origin to the dialogues of Plato. Not only does Plato provide us with a methodology that remains significant today, his views in many ways correspond to the revolutionary philosophies of Paulo Freire and bell hooks. In reflecting on Plato's view of education in the Cave Allegory in Book VII of the Republic (1991), one can readily see its affinity with Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2009); however, it is also important to keep in mind that the two philosophers have different goals. While Plato focuses on metaphysics and the desire for human beings to move away from the realm of becoming toward that of being, Freire espouses the need for a revolutionary education that will transform the world by making it fully human. Nevertheless they both strive for a revolutionary form of education, and they both encounter similar problems in that people do not always heed the call for transformative ways of thinking. This paper begins by examining the ways in which Plato and Freire address the strengths and limitations of the dialogical method. The question then becomes: how do we solve some of the problems associated with the dilemmas that dialogue may confront? By appealing to bell hooks' Feminist Theory from Margin to Center (2000), I attempt to demonstrate how her method of consciousness-raising can be utilized as a practical application to the dialogical methods of both Plato and Freire in order to create a type of dialogue that can be truly transformative.
ii. social criticism and activism
6. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Tennille Allen I Didn't Let Everybody Come in My House: Exploring bell hooks' Notion of the Homeplace
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In this paper, I use hooks' idea of the homeplace to analyze what may look like a retreat into the home as an act of resistance to the multiple gazes that moderate- and low-income Black women face in their everyday lives as residents of a low-income Black neighborhood in Chicago. This research employs ethnographic methods to explore the lived experiences of African American women living in Lake Parc Place, a mixed-income public housing development.Five years of participant observation data, a series of longitudinal in-depth interviews with seven women, and 29 in-depth semi-structured interviews are used to analyze the meanings that these women attached to their homes and how these interacted with and shaped their social relationships with their neighbors asthey negotiated several sources of surveillance and scrutiny once they left their apartments.
7. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Michael J. Monahan Emancipatory Affect: bell hooks on Love and Liberation
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Love is a recurring theme in bell hooks' thought, where it is explicitly linked to her understanding of freedom and liberation. In this essay, I will bring together some of hooks' most important writings on love in order to clarify her account of the relationship between love and liberation. I will argue that, for hooks, the practice of love and the practice of freedom are inextricably connected, and any liberatory project must be undertaken within the context of an ethics of love.
8. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Make Fitts Theorizing Transformative Revolutionary Action: The Contribution of bell hooks to Emancipatory Knowledge Production
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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.
iii. beyond and beside hooks
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Nigel C. Gibson Speaking the Truth in Uncertain Times: Creating solidarity with the shack dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo
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The impetus for this paper was the attack on the shack dweller movement in South Africa in September 2009. One question that emerged from the attack is what can committed intellectuals do to create active solidarity with movements of "the damned of the earth" in times of crisis. Thinldng of Fanon's critique of middle class anticolonial intellectual in The Wretched of the Earth and of Abahlali's insistence that their thinldng counts, the paper considers Fanon concept of political education rejecting the idea that it is something that a vanguard party, an avant garde artist, a self-appointed leader, the military or even a community educator provides. Instead, the paper advocates a radical ethical move toward a constant dialogue that encourages and appreciates the reason of those so often excluded from decision making. But while an ethical shift toward lived experience is a usefiil foundation, intellectual labor applies itself to a search for new beginnings through developing an intellectual space of action where, potentially, the reflecting "consciousness full of contradictions" can help articulate itsphilosophical principles and realize its notion in fiercely democratic grassroots movements which Abahlali's president, S'bu Zikode, calls a "living communism."One may recall that China and the tables began to dance when the rest of the world appeared to be standing still—pour encourager les autres.Marx, Capital (1977: 164)
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Paget Henry Gender and Africana Phenomenology
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This paper examines the long dialogue between Africana phenomenology and Africana feminism. In particular, it examines the exchanges between WEB Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Lewis Gordon and Sylvia Wynter on the one hand, and a number of black feminists on the other, including bell hooks, Natasha Barnes, Farrah Griffin, and Joy James. The primary outcome of the survey of these exchanges is that the pro-feminist spaces created by black male phenomenologists have all been insufficient for the full representation of the black female voice. In the words of Sylvia Wynter, such a full representation can only come through "a feminism in its own name".