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All About Radical Love: The Legacy of bell hooks Across the Disciplines

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Organizer: Michael Anthony Turcios

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In All About Love (2000), the late bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins) wrote, “Domination cannot exist in any social situation where a love ethic prevails…When love is present the desire to dominate and exercise power cannot rule the day. All the great social movements for freedom and justice in our society have promoted a love ethic.” hooks’s legacy is wide-reaching; her theoretical and pedagogical contributions negate totalizing and essentialist notions of justice in especially centering Black feminisms as reparative loci. Throughout her scholarly and creative work, hooks demonstrates radical love in writing underrepresented experiences into history. In having provoked unruly pedagogies, hooks engaged in conversation eminent scholars in critical race theory, literature, film, and gender studies and troubled Eurocentric epistemes as a refusal to canonical and institutional subjection.

This seminar reflects on, and contributes, to the corpus of bell hooks. As beneficiaries of her interdisciplinary oeuvre of love for unruly and transformative frameworks in our respective disciplines and worlds, how does the concept of love beyond its rudimentary definition guide our knowledge production? By centering radical love to address mutual care, identity, kinships, liberation, Black thought and experience, and racialized resistance, this seminar is keen on synthesizing papers that explore how radical love informs and shapes our scholarly trajectories, methods, analyses, and ethics. Furthermore, the seminar proposes a nuanced reflection on love as method, as a conceptual framework, as a principle, and as a commitment to reparative scholarship. A vigorous engagement with radial love enables us to consider how hooks’s scholarship has forged spaces for exercising solidarity and prompted multitudinous interpretations for engaging with Blackness in relation to epistemological transgression; optics and visuality; resistance and survival in a white supremacist world; and spatial embodiment.

Broadly, this seminar asks: How does the work of bell hooks, especially on love, enable interdisciplinary conversations across fields impacted by injustice? What lessons emerge when contextualizing radical love and care according to the circumstances under which hooks produced her scholarship? How is love represented visually, textually, and epistemologically? What, how, where, and when is love in times of planetary catastrophes and in the secured demise of carbon-based life on earth?

This seminar invites papers that address topics, but not exclusive to:

Love and care in the corpus of bell hooks.

Representations of love in literature, art, and media.

Troubling the vexed meanings of love across space, time, history, and culture. 

Black and racial loving and the radical act of affection.

Love as an anticapitalist, abolitionist, and liberationist project. 

Expressions of love from the margins.

Radical love as a relational experience.

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