The bell hooks center
The bell hooks center
Feminism is for everybody
The bell hooks center is an inclusive space where historically underrepresented students can come to be as they are, outside of the social scripts that circumscribe their living. We curate programs, collaborations and events that affirm these students’ sense of self and belonging—on campus and in the world. Our work is motivated by bell hooks’ famous insights that “patriarchy has no gender” and that, therefore, “feminism is for everybody.”
The bell hooks center honors hooks’ legacy by supporting students as social justice leaders who are active in the creation of a radical undercommons where their many and varied expressions of difference can thrive. Our flagship speaker series hosts leading feminist scholars, activists and artists who can teach our campus and community how to navigate and agitate against the intersecting structures of power that hooks generatively describes as “imperialist-white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy.” We believe that an understanding of how sex and gender oppression are products of not just patriarchy, but also and especially of white supremacy, has the potential to chart a new chapter in Berea College’s great, historical commitments—one that cultivates radical coalition between women, LGBTQPIA+ students, and students of color. Our center is thus committed to equipping students with language and tools to imagine and enact new relationships that need not reproduce the gender hierarchy, which we believe, following bell hooks’ teachings, is also a racial hierarchy.
Abolitionist at its core, Berea College remains committed to grappling with gender equity and its consequences. Its efforts today are largely informed by women of color feminisms, especially by Black feminist thinkers like Berea’s own bell hooks. hooks’ feminist message—that love is the way and that justice is the destination—exemplifies the College’s motto that “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.” Her insight that there is no feminism without anti-racism implores us to think holistically about the histories that gave birth to The Great Commitments and to agitate for a more inclusive future. As the meanings that we assign to sex, gender and sexuality continue to change, we remember, as hooks taught us, that the oppression of one is the oppression of all. bell hooks’ feminism is for everybody, and so is Berea College.
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