What does it mean to call a place home? Who is allowed to become a member of a community? When can we say that we truly belong? These are some of the questions of place and belonging that renowned cultural critic bell hooks examines in her new book, Belonging: A Culture of Place. Traversing past and present, Belonging charts a cyclical journey in which hooks moves from place to place, from country to city and back again, only to end where she began–her old Kentucky home. hooks has written provocatively about race, gender, and class; and in this book she turns her attention to focus on issues of land and land ownership.
Reflecting on the fact that 90% of all black people lived in the agrarian South before mass migration to northern cities in the early 1900s, she writes about black farmers, about black folks who have been committed both in the past and in the present to local food production, to being organic, and to finding solace in nature. Naturally, it would be impossible to contemplate these issues without thinking about the politics of race and class. Reflecting on the racism that continues to find expression in the world of real estate, she writes about segregation in housing and economic racialized zoning. In these critical essays, hooks finds surprising connections that link of the environment and sustainability to the politics of race and class that reach far beyond Kentucky. With characteristic insight and honesty, Belonging offers a remarkable vision of a world where all people–wherever they may call home–can live fully and well, where everyone can belong.