By now, I’m sure everyone’s heard the sad news – bell hooks passed away yesterday.
Across the internet, notes of appreciation and mourning have swelled. Messages of how bell hooks opened peoples eyes to issues that they hadn’t noticed, of how she articulated simultaneous oppressions with stunning clarity, of how she offered a new way to approach the world.
Of course, all of this is true.
But it is also the case that she did more than that.
She gave all of us something to grasp in her writing. I discovered her work roughly ten years ago and it was the forcefulness of that work that immediately struck me.
But there was an extra quality there – her passion for thinking.
Many people have talked about her passion for writing, for life, for justice, for equality, for freedom. But I think it’s worth mentioning that all of these passions related to her passion for thought.
She was undoubtedly one of the most important philosophers of the past century, even though she rarely (if ever) received that title (as it’s usually reserved for white men).
While many feel comfortable calling her a “theorist” (whether feminist, post-feminist, or otherwise), I have not seen many calling her a “philosopher” or daring to place bell hooks within the philosophical cannon.
It is a place she clearly deserved and she will continue to hold an honored place in my class on “Anthropology and Philosophy” and any classes I touch on philosophy in the future.
bell hooks was a philosopher.