She argues that teachers' use of control and power over students dulls the students' enthusiasm and teaches obedience to authority, "confin[ing] each pupil to a rote, assembly-line approach to learning." She advocates that universities should encourage students and teachers to transgress, and seeks ways to use collaboration to make learning more relaxing and exciting.
She describes teaching as a performative act and teachers as catalysts that invite everyone to become more engaged and activated.
In three conventional books and four children's books, she suggests that communication and literacy (the ability to read, write, and think critically) are crucial to developing healthy communities and relationships that are not marred by race, class, or gender inequalities.
She has held positions as Professor of African-American Studies and English at Yale University, Associate Professor of Women's Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and as Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at the City College of New York.
She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.
Her father, Veodis Watkins, was a custodian and her mother, Rosa Bell Watkins, was a homemaker. An avid reader, she was educated in racially segregated public schools, and wrote of great adversities when making the transition to an integrated school, where teachers and students were predominantly white.Performative aspect of learning "offers the space for change, invention, spontaneous shifts, that can serve as a catalyst drawing out the unique elements in each classroom." In the last chapter of the book, hooks raised the critical question of eros or the erotic in classrooms environment.According to hooks, eros and the erotics do not need to be denied for learning to take place.In this book, hooks offers advice about how to continue to make the classroom a place that is life-sustaining and mind expanding, a place of liberating mutuality where teacher and student together work in partnership.Noting a lack of diverse voices in popular feminist theory, hooks published Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center in 1984.In 1983, after several years of teaching and writing, she completed her doctorate in literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a dissertation on author Toni Morrison.Hooks' teaching career began in 1976 as an English professor and senior lecturer in Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California.This was followed by a controversy described in the Austin Chronicle after an "irate Arizonian" where she participated in a weekly feminist discussion group, "Monday Night Feminism"; a luncheon lecture series, "Peanut Butter and Gender"; and a seminar, "Building Beloved Community: The Practice of Impartial Love".Her 2008 book, belonging: a culture of place, includes a candid interview with author Wendell Berry as well as a discussion of her move back to Kentucky.The focus of hooks' writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination.She has published over 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures.