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Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  815 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
bell hooks, one of America's leading black intellectuals, is also one of our most clear-eyed and penetrating analysts of culture. Outlaw Culture gives us hooks on many of the most important subjects of the contemporary scene, from date rape, censorship, and ideas of race and beauty, to gansta rap, the dilemmas of feminism, and the rise of black intellectuals. Using the mix ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 21st 1994 by Routledge (first published 1994)
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Trevor
Aug 02, 2013 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really didn’t expect this book to be nearly as clear or readable as it turned out to be. The more I think about that, the more it seems to me to be a real indictment of general academic writing – particularly progressive writing that is seeking to provide tools for some kind of liberation of the oppressed. By making what is said utterly incomprehensible to those most in need of those words we are doing them a double disservice. Denying them access even to the puny amount of hope our ideas migh ...more
Zanna
Sep 23, 2013 Zanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
In her introduction, hooks writes about finding herself at home in Cultural Studies ‘where interdisciplinary work [as opposed to the conventional specialised & periodised pedagogy she’d felt so limited by] was encouraged and affirmed’. When white male academics in the US discovered Cultural Studies, it promptly exploded, and became a glorious space where she was free to transgress the boundaries she had always pushed at, and where hoards of students excitedly engaged critically with popular ...more
Paul
Jul 29, 2008 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first book by bell hooks. It's funny, it dives into all this pop culture stuff from when I was busy dropping out of high school to live a life of a scummy street-punk. So in some ways, it picks up where I left off. bell hooks is amazingly articulate and I love reading this. The essay on censorship from the right and the left is particularly good, pressing us to encourage and welcome dissent and to beware of the tendency to censor or self-censor in the interest of maintaining harmony o ...more
Regan
Oct 23, 2016 Regan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for anyone who thinks that feminism is monolithic and univocal. In this collection of essays/interviews, bell hooks takes aim at Madonna, Spike Lee, Camille Paglia, Katie Roiphe, and antisex feminists like Catharine MacKinnon, just to name a few.
Klelly
Feb 16, 2014 Klelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"One has to cultivate the capacity to wait. I think about a culture of domination as being very tied to notions of efficiency- everything running smoothly. I mean, it's so much easier if you tell me, "I'm leaving!" rather than "I desire to leave and not come back- how does that desire impact on you?" and I reply, "Is there a space within which I can have a response?" All this takes more time than the kind of fascism that says, "This is what I'm doing- fuck you!"

Variety of essays and dialogues..
...more
Kim
Jul 13, 2007 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: theory
This collection of essays schooled me. I learn and grow every time I read bell hooks. I recommend her work for people who want to continue learning about the subtle and not so subtle manifestations of racism and sexism in our culture (US) and in ourselves, and to act to resist and change those patterns.
Dan's Obsessions

Used as a memo, not an actual review
( Damn I wanted to recall it later on , its not my own)

Recommends it for: film crit, Malcolm X bio, African American art, queer representation, Jean-Michel Basquiat
Gotta love bell hooks. Gotta love Routledge. This is a collection of her essays, some previously published in Black Looks, Art Matters and some others that escape me. Overall, a diverse and exceptional selection in terms of topics she addresses and her range of critical acrobatics. The overarching t
...more
Andrew Bishop
Apr 18, 2007 Andrew Bishop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: film crit, Malcolm X bio, African American art, queer representation, Jean-Michel Basquiat
Gotta love bell hooks. Gotta love Routledge. This is a collection of her essays, some previously published in Black Looks, Art Matters and some others that escape me. Overall, a diverse and exceptional selection in terms of topics she addresses and her range of critical acrobatics. The overarching theme here, if there is just one, is that by and large, there is no satisfactory representation of outlaw cultures. Images of feminist, black and/or queer transgressive movement, more than not, provide ...more
Dave
Apr 27, 2012 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Outlaw Culture is the first book of hooks that I have read, although I've read several of her earlier articles (which I remember enjoying). In OC, I was turned off by her presumptuous declarations about what certain artistic pieces were about. She will spend pages antagonizing a certain thinker/artist/piece of art using harsh and political language without dignifying her evaluation with facts. For instance, she pulverizes Spike Lee for the mere fact that more time in Malcolm X is spent dedicated ...more
Danni Green
Apr 28, 2015 Danni Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful book. It illuminates the depth and breadth of racism at its intersection with sexism, as perpetuated by contemporary media in many forms. bell hooks does not shy away from holding individuals and institutions accountable for their actions. She shows injustice to the reader in ways that most of us have probably not seen it before, while constructing a thorough argument for why it is essential to view injustice in these ways in order to take action against it.

You might consider
...more
Bianca
May 01, 2014 Bianca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. Bell Hooks vocalizes ideas that have been swirling around my head for the past few years in an eloquent yet understandable way. I found something worthy in each chapter, but her commentary on the following - bourgeoisie notion of privacy, "love ethic", addiction as a cover up for the inability to be alone with one's self, liberal individualism vs communalism - were topics that stuck out to me and that I'm still wrestling with. Many books are mentioned by Hooks in this work, which I am ...more
Roy
Sep 13, 2009 Roy rated it really liked it
"bell hooks, one of America's leading black intellectuals, is also on of our most clear-eyed and penetrating analysts of culture. Outlaw culture--the culture of the margin, of women, of the disenfranchised, of racial and other minorities--lies at the hear of bell hook's America. Raising her powerful voice against racism and other forms of opression in the United States, hooks unlocks the politics of representation and the meaning of that politics for and in our lives."
--bell hooks is Distinguish
...more
Phillip Rhoades
bell hooks was a name I heard but never approached in my past. I found her essays in this collection both profound and transformative. I never expected to read social critiques that were full of such hope and love. It is from pieces and writers like this that I truly believe that change is possible. We can makes ideas real through action. I also find it immensely rewarding as I travel through these books that so many of the names I respect continie to pop up and be quoted: Zinn, Thich Naht Hahn, ...more
Max
Jan 16, 2017 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Bell Hooks has possibly the most compassionate voice in the public arena. One way this is expressed is in her explicit desire to make her academic thinking accessible. She has the ability to verbalize those vague feelings or ideas that most have buried deep, and then contextualize them as social phenomena.
This book provides a good overview on various topics, from patriarchal culture to the interplay of race and gender. However, I must say her diatribes against some specific figures felt a little
...more
Morgan
Feb 08, 2016 Morgan rated it liked it
This book was a lot to take in, and is probably not for the everyday reader. I wasn't quite prepared to read this in some ways--I had to look up quite a few references--and her vitriol directed to some films and people was surprising, though she is right. I teach a few chapters from this, and her intro, where she discusses cultural theory and what cultural studies entails, was really enlightening because THAT'S WHAT I DO. I just didn't necessarily refer to it in that way.

One side note: there we
...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
I liked most of this book. For me, this was not one of bell's strongest. I just finished it the other day and the few essays at the end were engaging, but I recall some of it being less engaging because her critiques were geared around some pop-cultural items I had not read, seen, or heard. That puts me at a disadvantage when trying to understand her critiques of those items. Some of the essays are not as particular and are very well written and give the reader a lot to think about.
Chrissy
Jan 27, 2014 Chrissy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find bell hooks profoundness to be unmatched when it comes to cultural studies. The way she digs in things and analyses them with care and concern, you can tell she spends time mulling over details and their respective affect of cultures. Unlike most intellectuals her work is easy to read and understand. I just wish I could live in her mind for a day.
Tinea
Hit or miss essays on pop culture and then some. Too many of these were dated (pop culture in 1993??) and useless for lack of context. A few were full of really great insights, connections between everyday life and intersecting oppressions, race and gender in particular. Left me with little to say.
Brian Kovesci
Feb 05, 2015 Brian Kovesci rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gender-studies
This book forced me to think outside I my existence and see the problems other groups of people face daily. We all have problems, but this helped me to understand the inequality of our society from both gender and racial perspectives. I especially like how hooks isn't afraid to be critical and that she sees critique as constructive. I'll read as much writing by bell hooks as I can.
Erin
Jan 17, 2010 Erin marked it as to-read
For some reason I thought this was a tiny book, but this is a sort of mammoth book of essays and I can BARELY keep myself from starting this, but I'm reading so many things already. This looks like a REALLY EXCITING BOOK!!!!
LadyBlue
Jan 27, 2017 LadyBlue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent cultural analysis. While it is obviously heavily rooted in black culture and representations of black bodies, her points about neocolonialist and sexist synergy can also be applied to other minorities of color.
Carmen
Jul 04, 2016 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I devoured this book. Cultural critic bell hooks is brilliant, and her cogent thinking about race, sex, class, and capitalism, buoyed by her lucid prose, is seductive and empowering. I must read everything she's ever written. Luckily for me, she's prolific.
Jessica
Dec 16, 2007 Jessica added it
Recommends it for: feminists
bell hooks---what more do I need to say? She's fucking awesome!
A.K.
4 stars because I haven't read this in years and didn't wanna be a faker... hooks rarely fails to dig in and fuck shit up. I really need to dust this off and let myself be moved.
girlwithglasses
If you're in enough minority groups, there is always something to complain about!
Steve
Jan 17, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
excellent for thinking about pop culture
Robyn
Nov 24, 2007 Robyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural-studies
has anyone read this?
Nisha
great! a book of essays and a quick and interesting read. i think i've already forgotten most of it, but this is a book i will probably reread often.
Lacey
Jun 28, 2008 Lacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Complicated so far, but intellectually stimulating and definitely interesting. Gender, race, and sexuality are nicely interwoven in this book.
Zahrah Awaleh
If you're in to black cultural studies then this is for you.
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Bell Hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She has published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films and participated in ...more
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“Contrary to what some folks would have us believe, it is not tragic, even if undesirable, for a person to leave a liberal arts education not having read major works from this canon. Their lives are not ending. And the exciting dimension of knowledge is that we can learn a work without formally studying it. If a student graduates without reading Shakespeare and then reads or studies this work later, it does not delegitimize whatever formal course of study that was completed.” 5 likes
“When we leave the realm of cinema, it is obvious that the dynamics of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy---which has historically represented black females as "undesirable mates" even if they are desirable sex objects, and so rendered it socially unacceptable for powerful white males to seek committed relationships with black women---continue to inform the nature of romantic partnership in our society.

What would happen to the future of white supremacist patriarchy if heterosexual white males were choosing to form serious relationships with black females?

Clearly, this structure would be under mined. Significantly, The Bodyguard reaffirms this message. Frank Farmer is portrayed as a conservative Republican patriarch, a defender of the nation. Once he leaves the black woman "she devil" who has seduced and enthralled him, he returns to his rightful place as keeper of the nation's patriarchal legacy. In the film, we see him protecting the white male officers of state. These last scenes suggest that loving a black woman would keep him from honoring and protecting the nation.”
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