Stuart Hall’s retirement from the Open University in 1997 provided a unique opportunity to reflect on an academic career which has had the most profound impact on scholarship and teaching in many parts of the world.
From his early work on the media, through his influential re-working of Gramsci for the analysis of Britain in the late 1970s, through his considered debates on Thatcherism and more recently on “race” and new ethnicities, Hall has been an inspirational figure for generations of academics. He has helped to make universities places where ideas and social commitment can exist alongside each other.
This collection invites a wide range of academics who have been influenced by Stuart Hall’s writing to contribute not a memoir or a eulogy but an engaged piece of social, cultural or historical analysis which continues and develops the field of thinking opened up by Hall. The topics covered include identity and hybridity, history and post-colonialism, pedagogy and cultural politics, space and place, globalization and economy, modernity and difference.
On this day in 1891 one of the most influential Marxists of the 21st Century, Antonio Gramsci, was born in the small town of Ales in Sardinia. Gramsci's work transformed how we think about a Marxist politics. Whereas the Russian Revolution occured in the "backward" Russia, and as such was as much a revolution against the "old regime" as against capital, Gramsci attempted to wrestle with the question of how we build a revolutionary movement in the developed areas of Western Europe. In particular it was his development of the concept of "hegemony" which was to prove the most influential. In this piece, from the great Stuart Hall and published in The Hard Road to Renewal, Hall attempts to expand these insights of Gramsci's to analyse the "regressive modernisation" of Thatcher. In an age where many are tackling the question of how to build a new left modernity, Gramsci and Hall are as relevant as ever.
Stuart Hall was a truly seminal figure of the left. Below is a list of his (staggering) life's work. Thanks to Jeremy Gilbert for helping us to compile it.
Just imagine we did all live in the future utopia that is Constant’s New Babylon. What would the library be like? I expect it would feature a greatest hits edition of the theory that helped us all get there. Here’s some notes towards it.
Sometimes to take three steps forward, you have to first take two steps back. I have been thinking that it might be worth stepping back into the archive of historical materialisms, critical theories and such, to see if there are neglected resources there. Perhaps we can’t just built on previous selections from it.
Perhaps we have to find new ways of reading even those texts that have become relentlessly canonic. New futures call for new pasts. So let’s find some! Here I have organized some working notes towards a revised resource guide to the past for this present.