40 pages 1 hour read

bell hooks

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1984

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Important Quotes

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“One of the most affirming aspects of feminist movement has been the formation of an intellectual environment where there has been sustained dialectal critique and exchange.”

(Preface 1, Page xiv)

Reflecting on her work in this book several decades after its publication, hooks notes how despite her marginalized identity, she was still able to become part of the conversation around feminism because of its tradition of inclusive conversation.

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“There has been no other movement for social justice in our society that has been self-critical as feminist movement.”

(Preface 1, Page xiv)

hooks reflects on how the feminist movement, including all its writers and thinkers, can be characterized as self-aware and “self-critical,” or willing to encounter criticism on their limitations or blind spots. In noting this, hooks reveals some commentary on her own work in this book and its reception by the feminist movement. Though she criticized the movement in general and particularly the blind spots of its leaders, hooks’s book was still included in feminist discourse and continues to be a relevant source of feminist theory today.

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“Our survival depended on an ongoing public awareness of the separation between margin and center and an ongoing private acknowledgement that we were a necessary, vital part of that whole.”

(Preface 2, Page xvii)

bell hooks grew up in a segregated, small Kentucky town and therefore experienced daily life on the margins of society. Her understanding of the margins as a place of close-knit community and support informs her confidence in the theories she puts forward in this book, which emphasize solidarity, empathy, and connection.