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University of Kentucky to host "bell hooks: A Legacy Rooted in Love"

Photo by Monica Almeida for The New York Times.

The University of Kentucky Libraries and College of Arts and Sciences will host a symposium honoring the life and work of Kentucky author bell hooks.

Set to take place Saturday, Feb. 12 via Zoom, “bell hooks: A Legacy Rooted in Love” will consist of scholars, artists and activists from across the state celebrating hooks’ work and engaging in conversations about its impact.

Described as an “esteemed author, feminist scholar, critic and activist,” bell hooks passed in Dec. 2021. hooks was a longtime professor at Berea College and also taught at several other schools throughout her career, including the University of Southern California and Yale University. She has won several awards for her works of poetry, fiction and critical essays, including the American Book Award, an Image Award nomination, a Children's Book of the Year designation and others.

Some of the author's most notable works include “Ain't I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism” (1981), “All About Love: New Visions” (2000) and “Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity” (2004). Her books predominantly explore the intersectionality of race, capitalism, culture, politics and gender.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins, bell hooks was raised in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, a small, segregated town in rural Kentucky. hooks described how her community turned the racism they endured into a source of strength. This allowed her to shape her beliefs, and most radically, her feminism.

These experiences from her childhood served as motivation for hooks to take up a new pen name inspired by her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. Additionally, hooks chose to keep her name lowercase to shift attention less from herself and more to her writing. In her adolescence, the author described herself as “the girl who was always wrong, always punished…This death in writing was to be liberatory.”

The symposium honoring the prolific woman and author is open to the public and the link to register can be found here.


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