cover image TEACHING COMMUNITY: A Pedagogy of Hope


bell hooks, . . Routledge, $17.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-415-96818-8

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.)