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bell hooks & Audre Lorde

Emily Nethercott
by

Emily Nethercott

on 16 February 2015

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Transcript of bell hooks & Audre Lorde

bell hooks
•1955-1968: Early
childhood exposure to
African American Civil
Rights Movement and
Black Arts Movement
Historical Context/Author's World
•Born Gloria Jean Watkins on
9/25/1952 in Hopkinsville Kentucky.
Early life and Family Life
•Experiences in elementary school with
racist white teachers and passionate
African American teachers
Education and Writing Experience
bell hooks: On teaching English and
the black woman's experience
•Late 60s to early 90s: Adolescent and
adulthood exposure to Women's
Liberation Movement
•Grew up in a segregated Southern neighborhood at the time of desegregation
•Fondness for poetry grew into
fondness for literature and discussion

Experiences in patriarchal family
•English, 1973-1976: BA from Stanford,
MA from University of Wisconsin,
PhD from UC Santa Cruz.
•1976-1994: Taught at various universities
across the country
To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. That learning process comes easiest to those of us who teach who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin
Major works and events
Major ideas
•Wrote over 30 books including novels, poetry anthologies, criticisms, theories, and children's books
•"Ain't I a Woman?" - published as an undergraduate at Stanford - most influential contribution to postmodern feminist thought
•"And There We Wept": 1978 - first book - foray into poetry and playwriting
•"Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center" (1984) and "Talking Black: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (1989) and "Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics" (2000) - most important feminist rhetoric pieces
•Numerous cultural criticisms, personal accounts, racial and patriarchal interventions
•Widely regarded as having most precise definition of feminism
•Critiques on education and its accessibility
•Intersectionality and the importance of the black women's experience in feminism
•Cultural criticisms - black female representation
•Disrupting institutional patriarchy and white supremacy
•Racism, sexism, classism, capitalism, heterosexism as interlocking systems of oppression, grounded in ideology of domination and subjugation
•personal is political: rhetors that challenge and transform ideas of oppression, domination, exploitation
•Importance of interventions, confessions and dialogue
•Buddhism, ecofeminism, and nature
•Critical thinker and enlightened witness: cultivating a new way of thinking
What is black feminism at large?
•Response to Black Liberation/Civil Rights movement
•Racism from Women's Movement, sexism from Black Liberation Movement
•Womanism vs Black Feminism
•Agenda
•Develop theory addressing intersectionality (race, class, gender, orientation
•Take action as a community against racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism
•bell hooks and Audre Lorde: exemplary black feminist scholars - similarities and differences?
•Numerous awards for teaching and
writing
-Born February 18, 1934 in New York as Audrey Lord, but got rid of the "y" as a child.
-Both parents were Caribbean immigrants
Her mother taught her to write as she taught her to read.
-Wrote her first poem in 8th grade
-Experienced racism in early years of school.
-Left home at an early age.
EARLY LIFE
First poem published in Seventeen Magazine
Bachelors and Masters in library sciences.
worked various jobs to support herself.
published works from 1968 to 1980.
Found Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press in 1980 with Barbara Smith and Cherrie Moraga.
CAREER
MAJOR WORKS
First Cities (1968)
Cables to Rage (1970)
From a Land Where Other People Live (1973)
Coal (1976)
The Cancer Journals (1982)
STYLE
Wrote very personally about experiences and how they were affected by her sexuality and race.

As the civil rights movement went on, her writing became more hostile and angry.

Dudley Randall states, "she does not wave a black flag, but her blackness is there, implicit, in the bone".
THEORIES
Theory of difference: binary opposition between men and women is overly simplistic.

"I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain."
CONTEMPORARY FEMINISM
Theory of difference: binary opposition between men and women is overly simplistic.
"I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain."
Audre Lorde
a black feminist lesbian mother poet
INFLUENCE
bell and Audre did not really interact.
Both were influenced by racial segregation of their time and lead the discussion of intersectionality in feminism.
Both produced extensive literary output, both literary and theoretical.
Both value personal experience that's crucial to the definition of feminism to make it accessible to all.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Did Audre Lorde come off as confrontational? How does this relate to her theory of feminism and womanism?
How do we see African Americans in the media? How does this relate to womanism and femininity? Do these ideas support bell's theory of media making a commodity out of African American culture?
What past feminist ideas did Audre and bell challenge? What new ideas did they bring to the table?
Full transcript