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She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.Her father, Veodis Watkins, was a custodian and her mother, Rosa Bell Watkins, was a homemaker. An avid reader, she was educated in racially segregated public schools, and wrote of great adversities when making the transition to an integrated school, where teachers and students were predominantly white.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.
The focus of hooks' writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination.
She has published over 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures.
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.
'Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression She has published more than 30 books, ranging in topics from black men, patriarchy, and masculinity to self-help, engaged pedagogy to personal memoirs, and sexuality (in regards to feminism and politics of aesthetic/visual culture).
A prevalent theme in her most recent writing is the community and communion, the ability of loving communities to overcome race, class, and gender inequalities.
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.
During her three years there, Golemics, a Los Angeles publisher, released her first published work, a chapbook of poems titled "And There We Wept" (1978), written under her pen name, "bell hooks".
She adopted her maternal great-grandmother's name as a pen name because her great-grandmother "was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which [she] greatly admired".