Stuart Hall, cultural theorist, died today.
Guardian obituary [click]
With the ability to articulate the postcolonial and diasporic experience, Stuart Hall shone a light on the importance, relevance and significance of cultural studies, postcolonial studies, on identity, race and racism.
He did so from a position that many of us can relate to.
That I can relate to.
That position.. at the margins, yet crucial in reshaping attitudes, and life in modern Britain and beyond.
He gave rise to the voice of the subaltern.
Stuart Hall was born in Jamaica to an aspiring, and 'middle class' family. Watching the film The Stuart Hall Project last year, I thought of the opportunities that his gender and mixedness may have awarded him… of the ways in which his life would have been impacted by those seemingly unimportant themes. Themes that many will cast aside now as constructed, irrelevant, yet themes which maintain the power to shape lives.. political realities.
He didn't dismiss them...
and neither should we
Neither did he attempt to remain silent on the position in which he spoke from. He was aware, very aware, and articulated his positionality often. He didn't shrink from exploring and discussing from whence he came, or from that often painful task of deconstructing identity, the black subject, the white subject.
I liked Stuart Hall
His voice was soothing and melodious. He loved music, you could tell. His countenance remained that of boyish youthful charm. A man at ease talking about Rastafari, Reggae, Marxism, or his much loved Miles Davis
That hybridic diaspora vibe that I love so much
I was aware he was unwell, aware that he had been undergoing dialysis for many years.
Aware he was an elder. But still, I am sad, and will miss him, knowing he is no longer here.
To say that Stuart Hall was an academic would be reductionist. Yes, he was, and a very fine one at that... but he was, by far, so much more.
"If the black subject, and black experience are not stabilized by nature or some other essential guarantee, then it must be the case that they are constructed culturally, historically - politically, and the concept which refers to this is ethnicity. The term ethnicity acknowledges the place of history language and culture in the construction of subjectivity and identity, as well as the fact that all discourse is placed, positioned, situated, an all knowledge is contextual" - Stuart Hall -
On BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs Interview