bell hooks: Overview

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Editor: Pamela Kester-Shelton
Date: 1996
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 840 words

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Perhaps best known for her controversial work Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, bell hooks has consistently written works that investigate the role of black women in society and within feminist criticism. Despite the critical attacks launched at this work for historical inaccuracies, Ain't I a Woman remains an important part of any study of feminist criticism.

Born Gloria Watkins, she writes under the pseudonym of bell hooks, which was her great-grandmother's name. The use of her great-grandmother's name is symbolic of hooks's concern with the past especially when it relates to the status of African American women. Fascinated by the roles that race and sex play within U.S. culture, hooks has produced a number of works that address these complexities in an attempt to define a place for all women and, in particular, women of color. As hooks would write in the introduction to Ain't I a Woman, her book "attempts to further the dialogue about the nature of black woman's experience that began in 19th-century America so as to move beyond racist and sexist assumptions about the nature of black womanhood to arrive at the truth of our experience." In addition to her focus on the experience of black women, hooks also argues that Ain't I...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420004053