A Culture of Place
By bell hooks
Routledge – 2009 – 230 pages
What does it mean to call a place home? Who is allowed to become a member of a community? When can we say that we truly belong?
These are some of the questions of place and belonging that renowned cultural critic bell hooks examines in her new book, Belonging: A Culture of Place. Traversing past and present, Belonging charts a cyclical journey in which hooks moves from place to place, from country to city and back again, only to end where she began--her old Kentucky home.
hooks has written provocatively about race, gender, and class; and in this book she turns her attention to focus on issues of land and land ownership. Reflecting on the fact that 90% of all black people lived in the agrarian South before mass migration to northern cities in the early 1900s, she writes about black farmers, about black folks who have been committed both in the past and in the present to local food production, to being organic, and to finding solace in nature. Naturally, it would be impossible to contemplate these issues without thinking about the politics of race and class. Reflecting on the racism that continues to find expression in the world of real estate, she writes about segregation in housing and economic racialized zoning. In these critical essays, hooks finds surprising connections that link of the environment and sustainability to the politics of race and class that reach far beyond Kentucky.
With characteristic insight and honesty, Belonging offers a remarkable vision of a world where all people--wherever they may call home--can live fully and well, where everyone can belong.
1. PREFACE: to know where I’m going
2. kentucky is my fate
3. mountains: consumed by suffering
4. touching the earth
5. reclamation and reconciliation
6. to be whole and holy
7. again – segregation must end
8. representations of whiteness in the black imagination
9. drive through tobacco
10. earthbound: on solid ground
11. an aesthetics of blackness: strange and oppositional
12. inspired eccentricity
13. a place where the soul can rest
14. aesthetic inheritances: history worked by hand
15. piecing it all together
16. on being a kentucky writer
17. returning to the wound
18. healing talk: a conversation
19. take back the night – remake the present
20. habits of the heart
21. a community of care
bell hooks is a writer and critic who has taught most recently at Berea College in Kentucky, where she is Distinguished Professor in Residence. Among her many books are the feminist classic Ain't I A Woman, the dialogue (with Cornel West) Breaking Bread, the children's books Happy to Be Nappy and Be Boy Buzz, the memoir Bone Black (Holt), and the general interest titles All About Love, Rock My Soul, and Communion. She has published six titles with Routledge: We Real Cool, Where We Stand, Teaching to Transgress, Teaching Community, Outlaw Culture, and Reel to Real.