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Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  3,420 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
In spite of the double burden of racial and gender discrimination, African-American women have developed a rich intellectual tradition that is not widely known. In Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hill Collins explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals as well as those African-American women outside academe. She provides an interpretive framework for the ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 7th 1999 by Routledge (first published 1990)
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Feb 17, 2015 Rowena rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology, feminism, race
"Race and gender may be analytically distinct, but in Black women’s everyday lives, they work together.” - Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought

I find it difficult to summarize books like this, ones which contain such comprehensive content. Although focusing on African-American feminist theory, Collins says the theory can be applied to any black diasporic woman because, “Women of African descent are dispersed globally, yet the issues we face may be similar.”

And reading the content I beli
Not really a review, more a butterfly-view.

I had a rare flash of brilliance and decided to read the glossary first. This kind of sensible idea rarely occurs to me. I was immediately struck by Collins' definition of

intersectionality: analysis claiming that systems of race, social class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nation and age form mutually constructing features of social organisation, which shape Black women's experiences and, in turn, are shaped by Black women

In other words, intersectional
Everyone should read this book. I read this for the first time during a women's studies course as an undergrad, but it works so well, as she states, outside of academia. I find her analysis of Black female blues singers as a source of feminist thought especially interesting. Anyone and everyone interested in social justice should read this book. And then read it again.
Mar 07, 2008 Tameika rated it really liked it
She offers an explored analysis of the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and class as well as its practical applications. She discuss self-identification, the politics of self empowerment, how woman are essential elements in nationalist thinking and etc. I do wish she discussed the politics of sexuality a bit more.
Feb 11, 2011 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
What I loved the most about this book is that it is an academic text, but PCH doesn't waste time with jargon. If she uses it, she defines it almost immediately. There is also a glossary in the back of the book. A book that I will use a lot. So happy I was pushed to revisit this text.
Oct 08, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing
This book blew my mind. One of the most impressive parts of it is P.H.C.'s command of black women's history in the U.S. It's so exciting to read about women who have produced "black feminist thought" in the U.S. through writing, music, and oral history since early 1800s, and before.
Linda Le
Oct 12, 2010 Linda Le rated it it was amazing
if u claim that u're an ally/progressive advocate of feminism, then do urself a favor & read this
May 22, 2009 Rosemari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This book was my guiding light while working on my thesis, "Deconstructing Auth Jemima." Patricia Hill Collins is underread and underrated. I want to sit at her feet. It remains an important reference book.
Sarah Hackley
Nov 15, 2009 Sarah Hackley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: BLS 3024
While I enjoyed her theories, her writing style is unnecessarily obtuse and repetitive.
Apr 18, 2016 J.P. rated it really liked it
I read this book for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I felt that I needed to better understand the issues black women face. This book, for me, was a great place to start. I am black, but obviously not a woman. I've always been pro-equal rights, but that isn't enough.

Patricia Hill Collins lays out the framework from the very beginning & doesn't weigh the reader down with confusing jargon. She describes her experiences in academia as well as the general experience of black women in ac
This book creates an argument about the particular experiences of groups of people and overarching theories of knowledge. It says that if a group of people, in this case US Black women, is consistently ruled untrustworthy or unknowledgeable, a major epistemological shift is required to get other groups of people to hear their testimony and expertise. This is something I've been thinking about a lot. I felt validated seeing this idea spelled out so beautifully and clearly by an African American s ...more
Mar 30, 2016 Marta rated it it was amazing
Part of reading for a grad school class...worth it!!!!
John Zavocki
May 22, 2014 John Zavocki rated it it was amazing
I read this book during one of my Feminist studies classes in college. This and bell hooks' "From Margin to Center" have stuck with me -- staying on my bookshelf over the past two decades.

Being white, middle-class, heterosexual and male, it is this book that clocked me on my head making me realize that the privilege I enjoy(ed) and could not recognize was pervasive and everywhere ... but only for "my kind." smh

BFT is a powerful read that clearly demarcates the terrain between assumption and cons
Apr 27, 2014 Wanyoung rated it it was amazing
Clearly and comprehensively discusses approach, aims, and the ontology of certain concepts within Black feminist thought. As a philosophy major, I found that much of this book’s discussions regarding oppression, race, gender, and sexuality reminded me of critical theory and political philosophy texts I had read regarding feminism and race I had read for classes. Collins is skilled in combining technical arguments justifying for Black feminism’s approach, with historical anecdotes that support he ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Tasha rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of being one of Dr. Collin's students at the University of Cincinnati. I learned so much from this woman and her gender study class. She along with some other great writers such a Bell Hooks and others helped me shape my own definition of what it means to be a black woman in America.
Jul 25, 2007 Lucas rated it really liked it
I really like Patricia Hill Collins and this is no exception, though I found much of what she filed under "Black feminism" really applied to feminism writ large. Still, it's an important work and very readable.
Oren Whightsel
Jun 27, 2007 Oren Whightsel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
patricia hill collins is one of the most important voices in feminism. this book is a must read...especially the 10th anniv. ed. because she updates her research and further develops her arguments.
Mar 15, 2007 Mike rated it it was amazing
Flashback to August, 1995. The book that changed my life during the first year of college.
mis fit
Sep 10, 2012 mis fit rated it it was amazing
Finally got around to reading this all the way through. It is awesome. Duh.
Dr. A
Read this and reviews of other classics in Western Philosophy on the History page of (a thinkPhilosophy Production).

Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment develops an intersectional approach to the analysis of oppression.

Collins argues that African-American women are uniquely positioned to understand how oppression works because of their experiences at the intersections of race, gender and class
Roberta Villalon
Mar 12, 2010 Roberta Villalon rated it it was amazing
thank you pat for writing this and changing the world!
Marilyn Diamond
I've loved her work since Women Studies classes
Quin Rich
Apr 20, 2014 Quin Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, I didn't realize until halfway through that I had picked up the 1990 first edition of Black Feminist Thought, and not a more recent edition which features updated scholarship and additional chapters.

Despite not feeling particularly earth shattering (mainly because this is a foundational text and I read it years after it was first published) Collins' Black Feminist Thought remains a key entry in the cannon of women of color feminist scholarship. Clearly laying out an overview of Bl
Mar 06, 2013 Andrea rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, the way it battles to discover what is unique to black women's voices and experiences, and how they can empower, aid in resistance, and form part of the larger coalition that is needed to create a more just world.

I've pulled out her own basic summary of what she wants this book to do and be, because it highlights what is missing from much other work, and because it is ambitious and beautiful and she almost does it all:
First, I was committed to making this book intellectually
Reginald Simms
Oct 22, 2015 Reginald Simms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great explanation of a black feminist theory. Explains different forms of oppression how they can intersect and form a "matrix of domination". Talks about the use of transversal politics and creating self-critical and self-referential forms of epistemology as a resistance to the intersecting matrix of domination which weave themselves in relation to each other via four domains of power, stated as structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal.

Was a good book for understanding the curren
Aug 24, 2015 April rated it liked it
I read the 2nd edition and would be interested to take a look at the 1st and see how things changed. I loved a lot of the broader principles Collins brought forth, but there were many ways in which the book just felt very restrictive. In rejecting the stereotypes applied to Black women, she seems to reinscribe alternative categories of Black feminism that are just as limiting, especially the lengthy section on motherhood as an essential characteristic of Black womanhood.
Lynn Senior
May 29, 2016 Lynn Senior rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was kind of rushed bc it was for class and I have another book to read, so I also did not read all the chapters. I plan on going back and reading them when I have time. Professor Collins off the rare thing, she wrote a non fiction book that is as engaging as fiction. I have quite a few people I read about that I will now promptly Google to learn more about them
Jul 04, 2014 Lily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, feminist
This book has guided my thinking for years. Now that I am re reading it I am even more impressed. Her thinking is clear and insightful. When I think of intersectional feminism I think of PHC.

May 21, 2015 Nalim rated it it was amazing
In Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hill Collins explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals as well as women outside of academia.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
This book helped me to see historical events and analyze societal beliefs/attitudes/rituals/values/ideals through a Black Feminist lens. I really enjoyed the incorporation of personal experiences being told by Black women to highlight and demonstrate the concepts being proposed/examined. I felt the Collins was telling me a story, she asks questions and really interacts with the reader throughout every chapter.

While this book was required reading for a class, I didn't have force myself to read it
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Patricia Hill Collins (born May 1, 1948) is currently a Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is also the former head of the Department of African American Studies at the University of Cincinnati, and the past President of the American Sociological Association Council.

Collins' work primarily concerns issues involving feminism and gender wi
More about Patricia Hill Collins...

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