James Piecowye thinking out loud

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Stuart Hall

Posted on | February 16, 2014 | No Comments

Stuart Hall was fundamental in helping me develop a love of culture, public policy and today media literacy.

Sut Jhally wrote some very moving words about Stuart Hall.

Stuart was also one of the nicest and kindest people I have ever met, treating university presidents and freshman students in exactly the same way. I have attempted to model my own intellectual life on the example he provided. The ultimate teacher, he was a public intellectual of the first order and a living embodiment of Antonio Gramsci’s famous phrase, “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”

Here is the interview Sut Jhally did with Stuart Hall in 2012.

Stuart Hall Interviewed By Sut Jhally from Sut Jhally on Vimeo.

This is Guardian Obituary.

Stuart Hall was one of the founding theorists of Cultural Studies.

So what were Hall’s thoughts on cultural identity?

It is now a commonplace that the modern age gave rise to a new and decisive form of individualism, at the centre of which stood a new conception of the individual subject and its identity. This does not mean that people were not individuals in pre-modern times, but that individuality was both ‘lived’, ‘experienced’ and ‘conceptualized’ differently. The transformations which ushered in modernity tore the individual free from its stable moorings in traditions and structures. Since these were believed to be divinely ordained, they were held not to be subject to fundamental change. One’s status, rank and position in the ‘great chain of being’–the secular and divine order of things–overshadowed any sense that one was a sovereign individual. The birth of the ‘sovereign individual’ between the Renaissance humanism of the sixteenth century and the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century represented a significant break with the past. Some argue that it was the engine which set the whole social system of ‘modernity’ in motion.

Stuart Hall will be missed.


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