Cultural Criticism & Transformation
bell hooks is one of America's most accessible public intellectuals. In this two-part video, extensively illustrated with many of the images under analysis, she makes a compelling argument for the transformative power of cultural criticism.
In Part One, hooks discusses the theoretical foundations and positions that inform her work (such as the motives behind representations, as well as their power in social and cultural life). hooks also explains why she insists on using the phrase "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" to describe the interlocking systems of domination that define our reality.
In Part Two, she demonstrates the value of cultural studies in concrete analysis through such subjects as the OJ Simpson case, Madonna, Spike Lee, and Gangsta rap. The aim of cultural analysis, she argues, should be the production of enlightened witnesses - audiences who engaged with the representations of cultural life knowledgeably and vigilantly.
Sections: On Cultural Criticism: Why Study Popular Culture? | Critical Thinking as Transformation | The Power of Representations | Motivated Representations | Why "White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy? | Enlightened Witness | Doing Cultural Criticism Hoop Dreams: Constructed Narrative | Dealing With OJ | Madonna: From Feminism to Conservatism | Spike Lee: Hollywood's Fall Guy | KIDS: Whose Gaze? | Rap: Authentic Expression or Market Construct? | Black Female Bodies: Color Caste Systems | Consuming Commodified Blackness
bell hooks is the author of numerous critically acclaimed and influential books on the politics of race, gender, class, and culture. Celebrated as one of our nation's leading public intellectuals by The Atlantic Monthly
, as well as one of Utne Reader's
"100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life," she is a charismatic speaker who divides her time among teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world.
Producer & Director: Sut Jhally
Editors: Mary Patierno, Sut Jhally, Harriet Hirshorn
Editing & Production Assistance by: Sanjay Talreja
Music: Peter Gabriel
2009 Freedom Week Film Festival, New Zealand
1997 Gold Plaque Award - Intercom, Social/Political Documentary
Praise for the Film
"A great video to initiate a discussion on pop cultural criticism."
- Albert Banerjee | Sociology Doctoral Student, York University
"This documentary should be a wake up call to all of us."
- Hanna Debbagh | Gender Sex Society Group B
"Persuasive and passionate. Recommended for college level sociology and communications classes and community groups working to change media misrepresentations of gender and ethnic differences."
- Transforming Communities
"I show the first part of bell hooks: Cultural Criticism and Transformation
for a contemporary black feminist critique of white capitalist patriarchy and its mass media. hooks is an iconoclast and a sharp critic of contemporary culture."
- Donna Lee King, Teaching Sociology