Reflecting on Chapter 5 of bell Hooks “Teaching to Transgress”

Critical theory has often been criticized for being passive consideration of oppressive systems without actually working as a liberating force for the oppressed through praxis. In many circles, theory and praxis are discussed as separate forces with no connection other than praxis being a separate principled implementation of theory. But bell hooks challenges this in her chapter titled “Theory as Liberatory Practice.” Although hooks does admit this disparity between theory and praxis in many circles, with terms such as “theory” and “feminism” being used as tokens, she goes deeper into this distinction between theory and praxis as being one between individuals who adopt a system of practice rooted in theory. As an instructor, it is important to continue considering the systems of white supremacy and oppression which established the modern academy and actively choose words, activities, and assignments which work against those structures. Inviting students to learn in a space that is designed to help support students regardless of background while also validating the experiences of oppressed individuals. Theory acts as a basis for thought about systems of oppression, but a practice of theory in the classroom involves a concerted effort to implement theory in a way that brings attention to how the system was designed to maintain hierarchies of dominance.

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