Hall, Stuart, 1932–2014, Jamaican-born British sociologist and cultural theorist, b. Kingston, Jamaica. Hall attended Jamaica College and moved to England in 1951 after winning a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned a Master of Arts degree. Politically, Hall identified as a Marxist but did not join the Communist Party, instead categorizing himself as a member of what became known as the New Left. In 1957, Hall joined scholars E. P. Thompson, Raymond Williams, and Ralph Miliband to launch two journals, The New Reasoner and the New Left Review, of which Hall was the founding editor. In 1961, he became a lecturer at Chelsea College. He joined the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham and took on the role of director in 1968. Hall became a professor of sociology in 1979 at the Open University. He became a member of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain after retiring from the Open University in 1997. In 2005, he became a fellow of the British Academy. British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah has focused on the history of Hall's life and work in the form of a gallery installation in 2012, The Unfinished Conversation, and a documentary film in 2013, The Stuart Hall Project.
Hall made significant contributions to the study of culture, race, media, diaspora, and postcolonialism. He was intellectually commitment to the development of anti-authoritarian, revisionist Marxism, and he participated in public debates on Thatcherism, capitalism, and multiculturalism. In this role as director if the CCCS, Hall engaged in inter-disciplinary research that would eventually morph into the academic field of cultural studies, where culture is generally defined as a space of interpretative and contested struggle. Hall's work focused on popular media and so-called low cultural forms, and tracing the intersecting dynamics of politics, power, and culture. He emphasized the role of culture in the construction of identity and meaning.
Hall co-wrote and edited several books and collections, including, but not limited to, Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse (1973), Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order (1978), The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left (1988), Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (1997), and Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands (2017). After Hall's death, Duke University Press established itself as "the official home for the writings of Stuart Hall." From 2019 to 2021, the press published numerous volumes of Hall's collected work on Marxism, cultural studies, race and difference, politics, popular art, and the media.
See D. Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen, eds., Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies (1996); P. Gilroy et al., ed. Without Guarantees: In Honour of Stuart Hall (2000); J. Procter, Stuart Hall (2004); C. Barker and E. A. Jane, eds., Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice (5th ed. 2016); D. Scott, Stuart Hall's Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity (2017); J. Henriques et al., ed. Stuart Hall: Conversations, Projects and Legacies (2017); G. Titley, Racism and Media (2019).
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