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In honour of Stuart Hall



The department of Psychosocial Studies mourns the death of Stuart Hall, a monumental inspiration and towering intellectual beacon for others throughout his adult life. Part of the intellectual and cultural formation that emerged in the Caribbean in the 1940's, Stuart Hall arrived in Britain in 1951.  A key figure in the New Left, he broke through the intellectual shroud of Cold War British academia with his breathtakingly broad intellectual sweep, interweaving culture, politics and ideology. As the most charismatic founder of cultural studies at Birmingham University in the 1960s, Stuart Hall was responsible for the creative spread of interdisciplinary perspectives across the social sciences and humanities. Animated by the pulse and boundlessness of modern jazz,  his writing and remarkable oratory were pivotal in the rise of post-colonial studies, the analysis of race, racism, and indeed in the scrutiny of the origin and persistence of class, sexual and all other forms of social hierarchy operating in any specific cultural conjuncture. He was a committed teacher, dedicated to making higher education accessible to those who had been excluded from it and leading the development of research-led teaching at the Open University's Faculty of Social Sciences. Always alert to the enduring potential for resistance against inequality and injustice, in one of his last public speeches he concluded: ‘I think that while sometimes the situation looks extremely bleak – as it does at the moment - there are always what Raymond Williams calls “emergent forces and ideas”, which cannot be contained within the existing structure of settlements and compromises which constitute the dominant social order.  Other wishes, desires, ideas and interests cannot be indefinitely contained.  They will always break through in ways you cannot anticipate or predict’. We cherish his memory.

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