This is an orientation book, not a praxis one — not really. Thinking on the title alone, the grammar of “Teaching to Transgress” whether teaching is a used as a gerund form “Teaching” or as a participial form or simply both matters, and so the dual nature of how you can read the title of the book was curious to me.
This book also clearly reminded me how far behind practical, everyday conversations, especially online are from transformative theory in academic settings are.
The book itself is a series of essays about pedagogy in college classrooms that seek to fold in student voice and action, to decenter power structures as much as limitedly possible, and to acknowledge institutional and systemic biases that limit educational access. And how, unfortunately, this is both uniquely possible and difficult in private colleges and public colleges alike.
When I was a college teacher (too young and inexperienced to be as effective as I could be) I often found some possibility to have classes like bell hooks describes in this book, but it wasn’t until I became a high school teacher (and had the years and age and wherewithal) to begin to put into practice a form of education that is at least pointed in the direction of liberational and compassionate. I am much better on the compassionate than the liberational to be honest. I wouldn’t dream of naysaying bell hooks about her teaching experience except to acknowledge that a lot of the work she accomplished through her teaching has a different look and path in non-collegiate spaces.