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A Culture of Place

bell hooks
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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.


Table of Contents:

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 was a Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, she chose the lower case pen name bell hooks, based on the names of her mother and grandmother, to emphasize the importance of the substance of her writing as opposed to who she was. A writer and critic, hooks was the author of more than thirty books, many of which have focused on issues of social class, race, and gender. Among her many books are the feminist classic Ain't I a Woman, the dialogue Breaking Bread (with Cornel West), the children's book Happy to Be Nappy, the memoir Bone Black, and Art on My Mind: Visual Politics (The New Press). She lived in Berea, Kentucky.


  • Publisher: The New Press (July 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1565842634
  • ISBN-13: 9780415968164
  • Item Weight: 11.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎5.5 x 0.51 x 8.5 inches
  • Alt: Belonging: A Culture of Place
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