Ten years ago, bell hooks astonished readers with Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. Now comes Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope - a powerful, visionary work that will enrich our teaching and our lives. Combining critical thinking about education with autobiographical narratives, hooks invites readers to extend the discourse of race, gender, class and nationality beyond the classroom into everyday situations of learning. bell hooks writes candidly about her own experiences. Teaching, she explains, can happen anywhere, any time - not just in college classrooms but in churches, in bookstores, in homes where people get together to share ideas that affect their daily lives.
In Teaching Community bell hooks seeks to theorize from the place of the positive, looking at what works. Writing about struggles to end racism and white supremacy, she makes the useful point that "No one is born a racist. Everyone makes a choice." Teaching Community tells us how we can choose to end racism and create a beloved community. hooks looks at many issues-among them, spirituality in the classroom, white people looking to end racism, and erotic relationships between professors and students. Spirit, struggle, service, love, the ideals of shared knowledge and shared learning - these values motivate progressive social change.
Teachers of vision know that democratic education can never be confined to a classroom. Teaching - so often undervalued in our society -- can be a joyous and inclusive activity. bell hooks shows the way. "When teachers teach with love, combining care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust, we are often able to enter the classroom and go straight to the heart of the matter, which is knowing what to do on any given day to create the best climate for learning."
Readers of hooks's prolific body of work on feminism, racism, cultural politics, art and education will find much that is familiar here. Grounded in autobiography and storytelling and written for an intelligent lay audience, these essays exhort readers to keep up the struggle in difficult times. A distinguishing characteristic of hooks's work is the challenge to recognize, confront and overcome "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy," a recurring phrase that captures her hallmark theme: oppression occurs at the intersections of race, gender and the dominant economic system. This work updates her thinking with post-September 11 reflections on domination and hope, and contains refreshingly original thinking about spirituality, family values and even erotic relationships between professors and students. hooks, a self-defined "[l]eftist dissident feminist black intellectual," embodies the clash of 20th-century cultural politics. She writes candidly about her own racially segregated youth, her struggles to overcome discrimination in the academic workplace and her efforts to find common ground with white feminists. hooks's voice is unique in that she manages to balance a relentless critique of oppressive forces in society with the open invitation to participate in "beloved communities where there is no domination." Containing more inspiration than concrete strategies, the book may leave practicing teachers wanting more in the way of specifics about how to practice antiracist pedagogy, transform classrooms and bring about a just society. But the author's clear and consistent voice for progressive, democratic education adds an important dimension to society's thinking about shared values and the creation of a loving and fair community. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.