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Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  4,441 Ratings  ·  267 Reviews
In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks--writer, teacher, and insurgent black intellectual--writes about a new kind of education, educations as the practice of freedom. Teaching students to "transgress" against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom is, for hooks, the teacher's most important goal.

Bell hooks speaks to the heart of educat
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 14th 1994 by Routledge (first published 1994)
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Summer I would say bell hooks is directly addressing professional teachers. But if you have any role in "educating" anyone - raising children, training new…moreI would say bell hooks is directly addressing professional teachers. But if you have any role in "educating" anyone - raising children, training new workers, etc - you will find it worthwhile. You will also like it if you are any kind of student. (less)

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Oct 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Teaching to Transgress is probably a book every person in a putative position of authority should read – not just teachers, but parents, coaches, community leaders etc. It’s accessible, passionate, quick to read, and offers a refreshing conception of education as something that’s not politically neutral and shouldn’t be about just gaining marketable skills to get a job. I loved hooks’ distinction between the feminist classroom and the Women’s Studies classroom, her approach that calls for equali ...more
Meagen Farrell
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
This book renewed my passion for teaching, especially in light of the constant rhetoric of adult education existing to create an efficient economic pipeline. It reminded me at a critical time that I am not the only one who believes education of marginalized people can--and should--be something more. I found that hooks had articulated many things I felt & experienced but could not name, which proves her point about the power of theory. Chapter 3 in particular is critical reading for anyone te ...more
Apr 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all folks in higher ed, especially those who teach
"The academy is not paradise. But learning is a place where paradise can be created. The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom."
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the first book of hooks' that I've read—a collection of stand-alone essays in which she reflects on the concept of pedagogy as liberation. Essay collections are almost always a mixed bag and there are some in here that didn't work for me—the one that's structured as a dialogue between her and her writing pseudonym, or the rather uncomfortable one on eros in the classroom (that one needed a lot of teasing out and consideration of agape, philia, storge, and a hell of a lot more nuance and ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you read a book that manages somehow to articulate intuitions you've always had. And sometimes that book goes a step further, and challenges your view of the world or your understanding of your place in it. Three things in particular I will take from this book: (1) education as the practice of freedom is actually education as a process of self-actualization,(2) coming to critical awareness can be a painful process; there is always conflict in spaces of unlearning, and (3) with critical ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whew. This book is magnificent. If you're into critical/feminist pedagogy this truly is a must read. Unlike Pedagogy of the Oppressed, hooks writes in a way that's accessible and understandable (a point she discusses). I wish sleeping with this under my pillow would allow her wisdom to permanently make home in my brain and in result my teaching practice. I'm a listener by nature, but the way she spoke about race and whiteness calls even a deeper sense of listening within me. I highlighted the he ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great book that really makes you think about your role as a student (or a teacher) in the classroom. There were times that Ms. hooks' words made me uncomfortable because of the truth they carried.

At times I do feel that the more I know and learn about feminism, the less I can enjoy certain things. It's not because I don't consider myself a feminist but because so many people engage in offensive, degrading behavior and expect to be rewarded for it. Unlearning sexism and racism can result in a
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Though this is an important book for teachers to consider, I found myself somewhat disappointed. hooks definition of transgressive teaching, and critical pedagogy for that matter, are just too different from mine. Her critical work seems more what Alastair Pennycook calls "emancipatory modernism," which comes dangerously close to the missionary mindset so often criticized by critical pedagogues. I have nothing against hooks pedagogy, but my goal as a critical scholar is to question the systems o ...more
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
An important book for teachers concerned about the impact (anti-oppression or the opposite) of our teaching. Very dense so I will just share one idea that I take away:

I've tended to think about anti-oppression education in terms of the content that the teacher presents and that the class learns. hooks argues that *how* you teach and the dynamics of the educational space you (help) create are just as important as content in creating a classroom where education can be...well, freedom.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, theory
I think this is my favourite hooks book so far!
Ana Feliciano
When I was in grad school I was always acutely aware of the ways that set me apart. Many people from marginalized communities have written extensively about similar experiences: these programs are not made for us. Teaching to Transgress along with Pedagogy of the Oppressed offers a view and a guide to making higher education more accessible. The term "engaged pedagogy" suggests a model opposite of the banking teaching method where teacher and student learn together from each other.

Visiting t
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
"When we, as educators, allow our pedagogy to be radically changed by our recognition of a multicultural world, we can give students the education they desire and deserve. We can teach in ways that transform consciousness, creating a climate of free expression that is the essence of a truly liberatory liberal arts education."

Each essay in this collection examines ways teachers must transgress within the classroom--ultimately, how to transgress normative professorial behaviors, such as lecturing
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
why didn't i read this incredible book sooner?
this book gives me motivation to become a teacher. to become a very good teacher.
in future, when i will reunite with my dream work i will reread this book every summer before school starts to re-energize my soul as a teacher.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the first book in a series by feminist scholar bell hooks on education. Key to her thoughts on education is that critical thinking and emotional engagement are important for real learning. I really enjoyed the chapters that focused on teaching practice, especially the ones where hooks relates her own classroom experiences. However, there are a few chapters in the middle of the book that are on feminist academia that don't relate directly to education. The content of these chapters is goo ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
bell hooks forever. I’m not teaching and this was written in 1994, still this book is relevant and inspiring.
Althea J.
This book gets all the stars.

If you're frustrated with the world and actually want to do something about it, something revolutionary, affect actual change... TEACH.

bell hooks speaks of the need to spark excitement for learning. She cites the liberation of minds as one of the key functions of education. She calls the classroom a radical space of possibility, and in Teaching to Transgress, she explains how teaching is a means of enacting progressive values of diversity, inclusion, and multicultura
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Seriously, this book was great beyond my wildest expectations. I would put it alongside Duncan Kennedy's Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy as something that all folks who are planning on going to law school should read.

So much of what bell hooks says is resonant and insightful, particularly the parts about invoking personal experience in the classroom and the fear of teachers from non-privileged groups to use non-hierarchical teaching methods.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have been dedicated to feminist, liberatory pedagogy since I began to teach, but admittedly I never read much about it, its development, its history, and how it used by others. My own feminist praxis informed my teaching and my commitment to create an environment which was non-hierarchal, which elevated the voices of the subjugated, and which created communities of love, respect, and critical inquiry. Going to hooks at this moment in my career was motivated by a desire to deepen that commitmen ...more
Nov 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: critical thinkers
I was constantly pumping my fist in the air and shouting in reverence as I read this book. She makes the art of teaching so appealing in her descriptions of the potential liberatory effects on students' minds. Beautiful. She also so eloquently and poignantly critiques current scholars (along with the US culture in general) and our so deeply ingrained racism and sexism (and other isms) even among people who consider ourselves "progressive" and "feminist."
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Livro maravilhoso sobre pedagogia, feminismo, prática da liberdade. bell hooks me fez pensar em várias questões relacionadas à docência e ao meu estar no mundo. Recomendo a leitura a todxs!
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am pretty convinced that bell hooks is incapable of writing a bad book. This is an excellent collection of essays on pedagogy from a black, liberationist perspective. Hooks describes how to challenge the dominant (white supremacist narrative), foster communal learning which honors students' co-participation in the learning environment, and what it means to work for change. Certainly she writes this for the academy, but I see ecclesial implications and I loved her essay where Gloria Watkins (ho ...more
Blake Loomis
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The ideas presented here are not anything entirely new for those who frequently think about teaching and its relationship to the capitalism, the patriarchy, and whiteness. However, for those who do, bell hooks presents very compelling, validating evidence and examples. I read it just before moving into a teaching career and it is exactly what I wanted. I also think it would be extremely useful for everyone to read, to gain an understanding of exactly how far capitalism permeates our society.
Brian Kovesci
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love tacking bell hooks' books because she has this seemingly casual way of explaining things I haven't yet considered. As much as I am savoring the works of Shirley Jackson I'm also savoring the works of bell hooks.

This collection of essays concentrates on education and her work in transforming the role of the educator within the classroom.

Everyone has a voice, and we can only learn from each other if we can hear every person's story. This demands the classroom to be a safe space where stud
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Prepare yourselves, I'm about to get effusive.

I ordered a copy of this the minute I finished reading my library copy. This book is incredible - timeless and immediate, hopeful and encouraging, thoughtful and candid. hooks' admission that she never wanted to be a teacher, never saw herself as one, yet still finds joy and energy in the classroom is so encouraging to this reluctant, nervous teacher. I hope that I can bring hooks' ideas of embodiment, openness, and whole humanity to my work. This is
Zachary Taylor
As I read Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks, feminist scholar and critical theorist, I was repeatedly reminded of my favorite professor and mentor at university, an ethicist who transformed my worldview, my politics, and my career aspirations. When hooks stresses that a teacher should cultivate individual voices in the classroom, to foster impassioned conversations where students truly “look at” each other and “do not just talk to the professor,” I immediately conjure Howard in my poverty stu ...more
Michelle Kuhn
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, philosophy
Woah. This book was such a breath of fresh air. I love the romantic way hooks talks about teaching, as well as the brutal honesty about its challenges. hooks empowers teachers to take part in engaged pedagogy, which gives up the dictatorial and authoritative role of a teacher in favor of a more democratic setting in which every member must contribute. She emphasizes that teaching should be a liberatory practice, one that enables students to transgress boundaries of race, socioeconomic and gender ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Summary: To me, this is a book about the intersection between education and social justice. More specifically, hooks explores how teachers can change their pedagogical practice to enlighten and empower their students, combating racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression.

I definitely enjoyed this collection of essays on pedagogy by bell hooks. A lot of the ideas in the book were concepts that I struggled for a long time to understand and/or accept. While hooks' book was hardly the ca
Katrina Sark
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Introduction: Teaching to Transgress

p.8 – Excitement is generated through collective effort. Seeing the classroom always as a communal place enhances the likelihood of collective effort in creating and sustaining a learning community.

p.9 – But the work of various thinkers on radical pedagogy (I use this term to include critical and/or feminist perspectives) has in recent years truly included a recognition of differences – those determined by class, race, sexual practice, nationality, and so on.
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In light of recent events, the "engaged pedagogy" bell hooks describes, promotes, and practices is more important than ever (202). It almost seems reductionist to try to label her pedagogy as feminist or radical or critical or anything else, because it is inclusive, encompassing. It's about empowerment and equality. And her writing style is so accessible and frank. She keeps it 100. And she's always talking about class - the quickest way to my heart.

Her dissection and rejection of the mind/body
The idea of education as a powerful means of social change is one I've been thinking about a lot lately. In my own thoughts I tend to focus on methods of teaching outside of a classroom setting, since my role in academia is that of a student and a tutor, as opposed to a professional teacher. I don't believe that my lack of experience teaching in a classroom prevents me from being a potential source of change, though. I would like to think that everyone has the potential to teach others, and that ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change
  • Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
  • This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation
  • Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America's Educationally Un Derprepared
  • Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology
  • Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change
  • Deschooling Society
  • Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice
  • Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity
  • The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America
  • Methodology of the Oppressed
  • Alchemy of Race and Rights
  • Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
  • Democracy and Education
  • Teaching as a Subversive Activity
  • Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples
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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“There are times when personal experience keeps us from reaching the mountain top and so we let it go because the weight of it is too heavy. And sometimes the mountain top is difficult to reach with all our resources, factual and confessional, so we are just there, collectively grasping, feeling the limitations of knowledge, longing together, yearning for a way to reach that highest point. Even this yearning is a way to know.” 70 likes
“As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence.” 4 likes
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