She argues that one of the central tenets of feminist pedagogy has been to subvert the mind-body dualism and allow oneself as a teacher to be whole in the classroom, and as a consequence wholehearted.In 2004, 10 years after the success of Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks published Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope.
In 1983, after several years of teaching and writing, she completed her doctorate in literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a dissertation on author Toni Morrison.
Hooks' teaching career began in 1976 as an English professor and senior lecturer in Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California.
In three conventional books and four children's books, she suggests that communication and literacy (the ability to read, write, and think critically) are crucial to developing healthy communities and relationships that are not marred by race, class, or gender inequalities.
She has held positions as Professor of African-American Studies and English at Yale University, Associate Professor of Women's Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and as Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at the City College of New York.
Those who have influenced hooks include African-American abolitionist and feminist Sojourner Truth (whose speech Ain't I a Woman?
inspired her first major work), Brazilian educator Paulo Freire (whose perspectives on education she embraces in her theory of engaged pedagogy), Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, psychologist Erich Fromm, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, African-American writer James Baldwin, Guyanese historian Walter Rodney, African-American black nationalist leader Malcolm X, and African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.She put the name in lowercase letters "to distinguish [herself from] her great-grandmother." She said that her unconventional lowercasing of her name signifies what is most important is her works: the "substance of books, not who I am." She taught at several post-secondary institutions in the early 1980s and 1990s, including the University of California, Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, Yale, Oberlin College and City College of New York. examines several recurring themes in her later work: the historical impact of sexism and racism on black women, devaluation of black womanhood, media roles and portrayal, the education system, the idea of a white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy, the marginalization of black women, and the disregard for issues of race and class within feminism. , she has become eminent as a leftist and postmodern political thinker and cultural critic.She targets and appeals to a broad audience by presenting her work in a variety of media using various writing and speaking styles.(who addresses how the strength of love unites communities).Hooks says of Martin Luther King Jr.'s notion of a beloved community, "He had a profound awareness that the people involved in oppressive institutions will not change from the logics and practices of domination without engagement with those who are striving for a better way." In her 1994 book Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, hooks writes about a transgressive approach in education where educators can teach students to "transgress" against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom.She asserts an answer to the question "what is feminism?" that she says is "rooted in neither fear nor fantasy...This was followed by a controversy described in the Austin Chronicle after an "irate Arizonian" where she participated in a weekly feminist discussion group, "Monday Night Feminism"; a luncheon lecture series, "Peanut Butter and Gender"; and a seminar, "Building Beloved Community: The Practice of Impartial Love".Her 2008 book, belonging: a culture of place, includes a candid interview with author Wendell Berry as well as a discussion of her move back to Kentucky.She argues that teachers' use of control and power over students dulls the students' enthusiasm and teaches obedience to authority, "confin[ing] each pupil to a rote, assembly-line approach to learning." She advocates that universities should encourage students and teachers to transgress, and seeks ways to use collaboration to make learning more relaxing and exciting.She describes teaching as a performative act and teachers as catalysts that invite everyone to become more engaged and activated.