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"theory can function as a place of healing"

Anne Dalke's picture

Grace Pusey '15 (one of the co-creators of Black @ Bryn Mawr) just sent me a link to a recent interview with bell hooks,  "Buddhism, the Beats and Loving Blackness":
hooks said one thing in the interview that I thought offered a very striking intervention into our multiple conversations about the relationship between the personal and the academic, about the matter of "putting the lid on" the personal with intellectual work, and about the use of academizing to distance oneself from personal trauma.

Her interviewer said, "You’ve talked about how theory can function as a place of healing. Can you say more about that?" and hooks replied, "I always start with children. Most children are amazing critical thinkers before we silence them. I think that theory is essentially a way to make sense of the world; as a gifted child growing up in a dysfunctional family where giftedness was not appreciated, what held me above water was the idea of thinking through, 'Why are Mom and Dad the way they are?' And those are questions that are at the heart of critical thinking. And that’s why I think critical thinking and theory can be such a source of healing. It moves us forward."


abby rose's picture

G.Y.: Is there a connection between teaching as a space of healing and your understanding of love?

b.h.: Well, I believe whole-heartedly that the only way out of domination is love, and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love, and that includes teaching.

-- I would have loved to be able to sit with hooks and Freire at the dinner table :) 

Thank you for sharing, Anne!