Transgressive Teaching & Learning: Critical Essays on bell hooks’ Engaged Pedagogy

deadline for submissions: 
May 2, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Drs. Feifer, Butler, Davis-McElligatt

Transgressive Teaching & Learning: Critical Essays on bell hooks’ Engaged Pedagogy

Almost thirty years after the publication of Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (1994), bell hooks’ theory of radical engaged pedagogy continues to offer vision and hope for students and pedagogues who find themselves navigating insurgent antiblackness, the ongoing pandemic, and the quotidian violence of the state. For hooks, “education as the practice of freedom,” as she describes it, informs and animates her critical pedagogical praxis—what does it mean to lead others toward freedom, to encourage freedom as an intellectual practice, to practice freedom ourselves as teachers and learners? hooks’ collection of pedagogical strategies and reflections on the practice of freedom works to counter the devaluation of pedagogy, particularly in relation to the teaching of writing, embraces the possibilities of an informed and critical classroom praxis, and centers pleasure in communal learning as an act of resistance. What strategies does hooks offer us to engage the possibility—or even necessity—of pleasure and freedom in classroom spaces, from face-to-face to online to community? In our current era of social distancing, ceaseless intra- and interpersonal anxiety, and political apathy, what does hooks teach us about pedagogical praxes that can help us survive these moments? 


Hooks’ subsequent collections—Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope (2003) and Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom (2010)—shift the mode to personal reflections on teaching outside of academia and brief “teachings” that center action and activity. By urging us to (re)commit to making revolutionary ideas accessible and “expand our communities of resistance,” hooks reminds us of our imperative to engage with and in public narratives concerning the development of critical ethnic and cultural studies programs that promote justice in education. Framing the exigent need for practical wisdom in our time, hooks’ recollections of her own foray into college education during the civil rights struggle remind us that, even in moments that foment equality in education, old hierarchies of race, class, and gender remain. We recognize this continuing paradox, particularly as our universities scramble to respond to student demands for access, equity, and justice. hooks’ recognition of teaching as a fundamentally political act, and her call for the creation of transformative learning spaces that center counter-hegemonic and anticolonial praxis provides educators with the roadmaps to co-create participatory spaces of self-recovery and collective liberation.


Transgressive Teaching & Learning: Critical Essays on bell hooks’ Engaged Pedagogy is the first sustained collection of critical essays to engage hooks’ teaching trilogy. This volume seeks to explore how teachers and learners across all educational levels and disciplines, in locations inside and outside of the university, employ hooks’ engaged pedagogical praxes. We seek contributions from both learners and practitioners who actively resist antiblack, imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist, abled, cisheteronorative patriarchal pedagogical praxes, and who remain deeply committed to the work of “educat[ing] people to heal this world into what it might become.” In the spirit of hooks’ trilogy, crafted in community across decades with people who inhabit various positionalities within both academic and public learning communities, we invite learner-scholars and teacher-scholars alike to submit proposals for critical chapters on educational praxes (3000-5500 words), personal reflections on pedagogy from learners and practitioners (1500-3000 words), and “teachings” describing pedagogical activities designed to facilitate dialogue following hooks’ idiom in Teaching Critical Thinking and Teaching Community (1000-2000 words).

We especially welcome submissions from emerging and multiply-marginalized learners and scholars; work from community educators and learners in underserved communities; and co-authored essays with students and/or community education justice collectives.

Possible topics include:

  • Pedagogies of hope
  • Theory as liberatory practice
  • Engaged pedagogies
  • Anticolonial pedagogies and practices
  • Intersectional feminist pedagogies
  • Teaching and learning communities
  • Eros and pedagogy
  • Pedagogies of (self-)care
  • Critical thinking & democratic education
  • Teaching as “Prophetic Vocation”
  • Spirituality and pedagogy
  • Feminist/queer pedagogies
  • Antiracist praxis
  • Affective pedagogies and the politics of emotion
  • Pedagogies of love, sorrow, grief, and joy
  • Practical wisdom of pedagogy
  • Conflict, aggression, fear
  • Resistance and revolution
  • Disability politics in the classroom

Please send abstract (300 words) and a short author bio (150 words) by May 2nd, 2022 to: Notification of accepted essays by June 3rd, 2022. Completed pieces due by January 15th, 2023.

Please email if you have any questions.


Megan Feifer is a Teacher-Scholar in Residence at the bell hooks center at Berea College. She is coeditor of a volume titled Narrating, History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat, forthcoming from University Press of Mississippi (2022).

Maia L. Butler is Assistant Professor of African American Literature at University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Department of English. She is also affiliate faculty in Africana Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is coeditor of a volume titled Narrating, History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat, forthcoming from University Press of Mississippi (2022).

Joanna Davis-McElligatt an Assistant Professor of Black Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of North Texas, where she is also affiliate faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is coeditor of Narratives of Marginalized Identities: Inside and Outside the Academy (2019) and Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat (2022).