bell hooks Symposium

2023 bell hooks Symposium

bell hooks Symposium

2023 Inaugural bell hooks Symposium:

Dissident FeminismsJune 16th-18th, 2023

Berea College, Berea, Kentucky

Sponsored by the bell hooks center and the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Berea College

bell hooks’ life and works engage in feminist thought and action that disrupts hegemonic systems of domination, including the cultural norms that hold these systems in place. She calls this dissident feminism a “talking back,” a “moving from silence into speech,” a “stand[ing] and struggl[ing] side by side [as] a gesture of defiance that heals, that makes new life and new growth possible” (Talking Back 9). Her writings envision feminist theory and praxis as transformational politic and movement–one that demands the provocation and audacity that hooks also represented in her person. Beverly Guy-Sheftall describes the oppositional voice of bell hooks as “loud and unrelenting” in her keynote address for the bell hooks center launch in September 2021. Indeed, hooks’ radical thought and action reimagine feminism as a sociopolitical movement that is “fundamentally anti-racist,” which “has no gender,” and which “is for everybody.”

hooks’ naming of “imperialist white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy,” which she later, in conversation with Laverne Cox, revised as “imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis-hetero patriarchy,” pointedly critiques the politics of domination that govern this world. hooks’s ordinary upbringing as a young Black girl in Appalachia, specifically, in the “Kentucky backwoods,” grounds her critique in space and place. It animates her radical interventions and deep commitment to liberatory world-making. While maintaining the connection between a love ethic and critical consciousness, hooks calls on us to cultivate visionary spaces, beloved communities, outlaw cultures, and radical undercommons in which oppositional worldviews are rooted in the experiential.

In honor and celebration of her life, works, and legacy, the Inaugural bell hooks Symposium at the bell hooks center at Berea College holds collective space for continued engagement with dissident feminisms. This symposium encourages theory, praxis, poetics, and aesthetics that move hooks’ interventions into the present moment while challenging the co-optation and de-politicization of her work.

bell hooks symposium program cover

Explore the program for the Inaugural bell hooks Symposium, which includes workshops, performances, art exhibitions, talented speakers and more.


Registration for the Inaugural bell hooks Symposium is now closed. Please consider attending our 2024 Symposium. 

Symposium Organizers

  • M. Shadee Malaklou, Founder and Inaugural Director of the bell hooks center at Berea College; Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Associate Professor of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department
  • Megan Feifer, Teacher-Scholar in Residence at the bell hooks center at Berea College
  • E. Gale Greenlee, Teacher-Scholar in Residence at the bell hooks center at Berea College

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