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Jacqueline Rose: What is a Subject? Politics and Psyche After Stuart Hall

The Stuart Hall Foundation welcomed renowned public intellectual Jacqueline Rose for our 6th Annual Stuart Hall Public Conversation at Conway Hall, London, on Saturday 11th February 2023. She delivered a lecture entitled ‘What is a Subject? Politics and Psyche After Stuart Hall’. Stuart Hall’s work can be read as a perpetual searching, however difficult or painful, for the linchpins which entangle intimate personal history to global political relations. It’s through this approach to reading Hall that Rose began to realise how deeply embedded his work was within psychoanalytical thought. In this lecture, Rose tracks the key aspects of Hall’s thinking, and questions how, through its prism, he might have reached out to some of the most anguished political and cultural realities of our current times. Following Rose’s keynote and a brief intermission, she is joined by psychotherapist Sharon Numa in conversation. Jacqueline Rose recently adapted this lecture into an essay on Stuart Hall at The New York Review. Read it here: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2023/09/21/the-analyst-stuart-hall-jacqueline-rose/The Stuart Hall Foundation’s Annual Autumn Keynote with Arundhati Roy, September 2022. In the twenty-five years since the release of her world-renowned Booker Prize winning novel, The God of Small Things (1997), Arundhati Roy has consistently interrogated the meaning of justice in all its complexity, social, economic and ecological. Her last novel was The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017) which has been translated into more than 40 languages. Her latest collection of essays is Azadi: Freedom, Fascism, and Fiction in the Age of the Virus (2020). As we endure an unprecedented global pandemic, governmental inaction in response to the climate crisis, and the intensification of authoritarian practices across the global north and south alike, Arundhati Roy reflects on how we have arrived at this conjuncture and what might come next. In her keynote titled ‘Things That Can and Cannot Be Said: The dismantling of the world as we knew it’, Roy discusses the local and global dimensions of these crises and the ongoing resistance to them. Roy is then joined in conversation with Farzana Khan, Executive Director and Co-founder of Healing Justice London, and responds to questions from the audience.

In the final episode of Living Archives, Alberta Whittle and Sekai Machache think together about freedom, urgency and slowness, their many transnational and international collaborations, and their feelings about edges.

Conversation transcript available here. Listen to more episodes here.

Living Archives is an oral histories project co-produced by the Stuart Hall Foundation and the International Curators Forum. The project is made up of six intergenerational conversations. Each conversation considers an alternative history of contemporary Britain through the testimony of UK-based diasporic artists working between the 1980s and the present-day. The project will form, what Stuart Hall calls, a “living archive of the diaspora” which maps the development, endurance, and centrality of diasporic artistic production in Britain.

Hosted by ICF’s Deputy Artistic Director, Jessica Taylor, practitioners reflected on the reasons they became artists, the development of their practices, the different moments and movements they bore witness to, and the beautiful reasons they chose to be in conversation with each other.

Hosted by Jessica Taylor

Edited by Chris Browne

Designs by Yolande Mutale

Music by LOX


 

Bios

Alberta Whittle is an artist, researcher, and curator. She was awarded a Turner Bursary, the Frieze Artist Award, and a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award in 2020. Alberta is a PhD candidate at Edinburgh College of Art and is a Research Associate at The University of Johannesburg. She was a RAW Academie Fellow at RAW Material in Dakar in 2018 and is the Margaret Tait Award winner for 2018/9.

Her creative practice is motivated by the desire to manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-blackness. She choreographs interactive installations, using film, sculpture, and performance as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces.

Alberta has exhibited and performed in various solo and group shows, including at Jupiter Artland (2021), Gothenburg Biennale (2021), The Lisson Gallery (2021), MIMA (2021), Viborg Kunstal (2021), Remai Modern (2021), Liverpool Biennale (2021), Art Night London (2021), The British Art Show – Aberdeen (2021), Glasgow International (2021), Glasgow International (2020), Grand Union (2020), Eastside Projects (2020), DCA (2019), GoMA, Glasgow (2019), Pig Rock Bothy at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2019), 13th Havana Biennale, Cuba (2019), The Tyburn Gallery, London (2019), The City Arts Centre, Edinburgh (2019), The Showroom, London (2018), National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (2018), RAW Material, Dakar (2018), FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (2018), the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg (2017), FRAMER FRAMED, Amsterdam (2015), Goethe On Main, Johannesburg (2015), at the Johannesburg Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015), and BOZAR, Brussels (2014), amongst others.

Her work has been acquired for the UK National Collections, The Scottish National Gallery Collections, Glasgow Museums Collections and The Contemporary Art Research Collection at Edinburgh College of Art amongst other private collections.

Alberta is representing Scotland at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. And over 2021, Alberta will be sharing new work as part of the British Art Show 9, RESET at Jupiter Artland, Right of Admission at the University of Johannesburg, Art from Britain and The Caribbean at Tate Modern, Sex Ecologies at Kunstal Trondheim, Norway, In The Castle Of My Skin (MIMA) and Gothenburg Biennale (2021).

Alberta’s writing has been published in MAP magazine, Visual Culture in Britain, Visual Studies, Art South Africa and Critical Arts Academic Journal.

Sekai Machache (she/they) is a Zimbabwean-Scottish visual artist and curator based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work is a deep interrogation of the notion of self, in which photography plays a crucial role in supporting an exploration of the historical and cultural imaginary.

Aspects of her photographic practice are formulated through digital studio-based compositions utilising body paint and muted lighting to create images that appear to emerge from darkness.

In recent works she expands to incorporate other media and approaches that can help to evoke that which is invisible and undocumented. She is interested in the relationship between spirituality, dreaming and the role of the artist in disseminating symbolic imagery to provide a space for healing against contexts of colonialism and loss.

Sekai is the recipient of the 2020 RSA Morton Award and is an artist in residence with the Talbot Rice Residency Programme 2021-2023.

Sekai works internationally and often collaboratively, for and with her community and is a founding and organising member of theYon Afro Collective (YAC).

 

Produced with funding from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) and Arts Council England.

 

For the fifth episode of Living Archives, Joy Gregory and Anthea Hamilton share the ways their experiences have influenced their practice, the relationship between education and art-making and what plant life can teach us about being in the world.

Conversation transcript available here. Listen to more episodes here.

Living Archives is an oral histories project co-produced by the Stuart Hall Foundation and the International Curators Forum. The project is made up of six intergenerational conversations. Each conversation considers an alternative history of contemporary Britain through the testimony of UK-based diasporic artists working between the 1980s and the present-day. The project will form, what Stuart Hall calls, a “living archive of the diaspora” which maps the development, endurance, and centrality of diasporic artistic production in Britain.

Hosted by ICF’s Deputy Artistic Director, Jessica Taylor, practitioners reflected on the reasons they became artists, the development of their practices, the different moments and movements they bore witness to, and the beautiful reasons they chose to be in conversation with each other.

Hosted by Jessica Taylor

Edited by Chris Browne

Designs by Yolande Mutale

Music by LOX


 

Bios

Born in 1978 in London, Anthea Hamilton is a British artist known for creating large-scale installations and surreal artworks. She graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2000 and the Royal College of Art, London, in 2005. Her practice encompasses film, installation, performance, and sculpture, and her work is frequently site-specific. Hamilton’s approach combines archival study, popular culture, and scientific research with resonant images and objects in unusual and surreal ways. Her installations engage visitors with imagined narratives that incorporate references from art, cinema, design, and fashion. Conversation and collaboration are also key to the way she works. In 2016 Hamilton was short-listed for the Turner Prize for Project for Door (2015). In 2017 she became the first Black woman to be awarded a commission to create a work for Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries.

Joy Gregory is a graduate of Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. She has developed a practice which is concerned with social and political issues with particular reference to history and cultural differences in contemporary society.

As a photographer she makes full use of the media from video, digital and analogue photography to Victorian print processes. In 2002, Gregory received the NESTA Fellowship, which enabled her the time and the freedom to research for a major piece around language endangerment. The first of this series was the video piece Gomera, which premiered at the Sydney Biennale in May 2010.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and has exhibited all over the world showing in many festivals and biennales. Her work included in many collections including the UK Arts Council Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, and Yale British Art Collection. She currently lives and works in London.

 

Produced with funding from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) and Arts Council England.

 

In episode 4 of Living Archives, Ajamu and Bernice Mulenga bend time reflecting on their respective approaches to photography, intimacy and working with large institutions.

Conversation transcript available here. Listen to more episodes here.

Living Archives is an oral histories project co-produced by the Stuart Hall Foundation and the International Curators Forum. The project is made up of six intergenerational conversations. Each conversation considers an alternative history of contemporary Britain through the testimony of UK-based diasporic artists working between the 1980s and the present-day. The project will form, what Stuart Hall calls, a “living archive of the diaspora” which maps the development, endurance, and centrality of diasporic artistic production in Britain.

Hosted by ICF’s Deputy Artistic Director, Jessica Taylor, practitioners reflected on the reasons they became artists, the development of their practices, the different moments and movements they bore witness to, and the beautiful reasons they chose to be in conversation with each other.

Hosted by Jessica Taylor

Edited by Chris Browne

Designs by Yolande Mutale

Music by LOX


 

Bios

Ajamu [Hon FRPS] is a fine art studio based / darkroom led photographic artist and scholar. His work has been shown in Museums, galleries and alternative spaces worldwide. In 2022, Ajamu was canonised by The Trans Pennine Travelling Sisters as the Patron Saint of Darkrooms and received and honorary fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society. Work appears in private abd public collections worldwide.

Bernice Mulenga is a British-Congolese photographer with a distinct aptitude for archiving, documenting and interrogating the world around them. Mulenga’s work centres on their community and the experiences within it—most notably in their ongoing photo series #friendsonfilm. Their work also explores reoccurring themes surrounding identity, sexuality, grief, darkness and family.

 

Produced with funding from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) and Arts Council England.

 

In the third episode of Living Archives, Roshini Kempadoo and Jacob V Joyce exchange ideas around Stuart Hall’s work and legacy, the relationship between the archive and artistic practice and finding allies in history.

Conversation transcript available here. Listen to more episodes here.

Living Archives is an oral histories project co-produced by the Stuart Hall Foundation and the International Curators Forum. The project is made up of six intergenerational conversations. Each conversation considers an alternative history of contemporary Britain through the testimony of UK-based diasporic artists working between the 1980s and the present-day. The project will form, what Stuart Hall calls, a “living archive of the diaspora” which maps the development, endurance, and centrality of diasporic artistic production in Britain.

Hosted by ICF’s Deputy Artistic Director, Jessica Taylor, practitioners reflected on the reasons they became artists, the development of their practices, the different moments and movements they bore witness to, and the beautiful reasons they chose to be in conversation with each other.

Hosted by Jessica Taylor

Edited by Chris Browne

Designs by Yolande Mutale

Music by LOX


 

Bios

Roshini Kempadoo is an international photographer, media artist and scholar with the School of Arts, University of Westminster. She has worked for over 30 years as a cultural activist and advocate, having been instrumental to the development of Autograph (ABP) and Ten.8 Photographic Magazine. As an artist she re-imagines everyday experiences and womens’ perspectives relating to Caribbean legacies and memories. Central to this is her book Creole in the Archive: Imagery, Presence and Location of the Caribbean Figure (2016). Her ongoing research develops creative methodologies on issues of race and extraction in relation to ecological futures.

Jacob V Joyce is an artist, researcher and educator from South London. Their work is community focussed ranging from mural painting, illustration, workshops, poetry and punk music with their band Screaming Toenail. Joyce has illustrated international human rights campaigns for Amnesty International and Global justice Now, had their comics published in national newspapers and self published a number of DIY zines. Their work with OPAL (Out Proud African LGBTI) has gone viral across the African Continent and increased the visibility of activists fighting the legacies of colonially instated homophobic legislation.

Joyce was recently awarded a Support Structures Fellowship from the Serpentine Gallery and a Westminster PhD research scholarship at C.R.E.A.M, (Centre for Research and Education in Art Media.) Previous recognitions include a collaborative residency at Serpentine Galleries Education Department with Rudy Loewe 2020, TFL (Transport For London) Public Arts Grant 2019, Artist Participation Residency at Gasworks London/East Yard Trinidad Tobago 2019, Tate Galleries Education Department Residency 2019, Nottingham Contemporary Community Artist Residency 2017.

Joyce is a non-binary artist amplifying historical and nourishing new queer and anti-colonial narratives.

 

Produced with funding from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) and Arts Council England.

 

In episode 2 of Living Archives Beverley Bennett and Marlene Smith discuss their practices in relation to family, collectivity and memory.

Conversation transcript available here. Listen to more episodes here.

Living Archives is an oral histories project co-produced by the Stuart Hall Foundation and the International Curators Forum. The project is made up of six intergenerational conversations. Each conversation considers an alternative history of contemporary Britain through the testimony of UK-based diasporic artists working between the 1980s and the present-day. The project will form, what Stuart Hall calls, a “living archive of the diaspora” which maps the development, endurance, and centrality of diasporic artistic production in Britain.

Hosted by ICF’s Deputy Artistic Director, Jessica Taylor, practitioners reflected on the reasons they became artists, the development of their practices, the different moments and movements they bore witness to, and the beautiful reasons they chose to be in conversation with each other.

Hosted by Jessica Taylor

Edited by Chris Browne

Designs by Yolande Mutale

Music by LOX


 

Bios

Beverley Bennett is an artist-filmmaker whose work revolves around the possibilities of drawing, performance and collaboration. Her practice is connected multiple ways of making. The first of these is a concern with the importance of ‘gatherings’ to denote a methodology that differs from the more hierarchical model of the workshop; one person leading and sharing information with participants taking part in the activities. Instead ‘gatherings’ are cyclical, whereby everyone learns from each other and often formulate in myriad ways, from reading together to gathering at a party. This has created a ‘tapestry of voices’, an interweaving of communalities and differences that provide a broader view, an important part of amplifying intergenerational relationships. The second is an investigation of the idea of The Archive (often beginning projects by creating / adding to her own extensive personal archives of interviews, using them for preliminary research and experimentation) and the third is collaboration. This is frequently through socially political work with other creatives, fine artists, community members, young children and their families. Her practice provides spaces for participants to become collaborators and provides a point of focus from where to unpick ideas around what constitutes an art practice and for whom art is generated.

Marlene Smith is a British artist and curator. She was a member of the Blk Art Group in the 1980s and is one of the founding members of the BLK Art Group Research Project. She was director of The Public in West Bromwich and UK Research Manager for Black Artists and Modernism, a collaborative research project run by the University of the Arts London and Middlesex University. She is Director of The Room Next to Mine, and was an Associate of Lubaina Himid’s Making Histories Visible Project and Associate Artist at Modern Art Oxford.

Selected exhibitions include: The More Things Change, Wolverhampton Art Gallery (2023); Cut & Mix, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2022); Portals, East Side Projects, Birmingham (2021); Get Up, Stand Up, Now!Generations of Black Creative Pioneers, Somerset House, London (2019); The Place is Here,Nottingham Contemporary and South London Gallery (2017); Thinking Back: a montage of black art in Britain, Van Abbe Museu, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2016); Her work is in the Government Art collection and the collections of Sheffield museums and Wolverhampton art gallery.

 

Produced with funding from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) and Arts Council England.

 

In this, the first conversation in the Living Archives series, we sit down with Ingrid Pollard and Rudy Loewe to discuss the links between their practices, the relationship between activism and art-making and playful storytelling.

Conversation transcript available here. Listen to more episodes here.

Living Archives is an oral histories project co-produced by the Stuart Hall Foundation and the International Curators Forum. The project is made up of six intergenerational conversations. Each conversation considers an alternative history of contemporary Britain through the testimony of UK-based diasporic artists working between the 1980s and the present-day. The project will form, what Stuart Hall calls, a “living archive of the diaspora” which maps the development, endurance, and centrality of diasporic artistic production in Britain.

Hosted by ICF’s Deputy Artistic Director, Jessica Taylor, practitioners reflected on the reasons they became artists, the development of their practices, the different moments and movements they bore witness to, and the beautiful reasons they chose to be in conversation with each other.

Hosted by Jessica Taylor

Edited by Chris Browne

Designs by Yolande Mutale

Music by LOX


 

Bios

Ingrid Pollard is a photographer, media artist and researcher. She is a graduate of the London College of Printing, Derby University,  with a Doctorate from University of Westminster  Ingrid has developed a social practice concerned with representation, history and landscape with reference to race, difference and the materiality of lens based media. Her work is included in numerous collections including the UK Arts Council, Tate Britain and the Victoria & Albert Museum. She lives and works in Northumbria, UK.

Rudy Loewe (b. 1987) is an artist visualising black histories and social politics through painting, drawing and text. They began a Techne funded practice-based PhD at the University of the Arts London in 2021. This research critiques Britain’s role in suppressing Black Power in the English-speaking Caribbean, during the 60s and 70s. Loewe is creating paintings and drawings that unravel this history included in recently declassified Foreign & Commonwealth Office records. Their approach to painting speaks to their background in comics and illustration — combining  text, image and sequential narrative.

Recent exhibitions include A Significant Threat, VITRINE Fitzrovia, London (2023); uMoya: the sacred return of lost things, Liverpool Biennial (2023); Unattributable Briefs: Act Two, Orleans House Gallery, London (2023); Unattributable Briefs: Act One, Staffordshire St., London (2022); New Contemporaries, Humber Street Gallery and South London Gallery (2022); Back to Earth, Serpentine Gallery, London (2022); and NAE Open 22, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2022).

 

Produced with funding from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) and Arts Council England.

In the sixth and final episode of Locating Legacies, series host Gracie Mae Bradley speaks to Ruth Wilson Gilmore. Often dismissed or set aside as a US-based movement, Gracie and Ruth sit down together to explore how we can think about the histories, legacies and politics of abolition in the British context and beyond. They map how local instances of political organising express themselves globally, as well as interrogating how past struggles express themselves in the present. Ruth Wilson Gilmore is the Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and professor of geography in Earth and Environmental Sciences and American Studies at the City University of New York. She is the co-founder of many grassroots organisations, including the California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network. She is also the author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, and Abolition Geography.

About the Series:

Locating Legacies is a fortnightly podcast created by the Stuart Hall Foundation, co-produced by Pluto Press and funded by Arts Council England. The series is dedicated to tracing the reverberations of history to contextualise present-day politics, deepen our understanding of some of the crucial issues of our time, and to draw connections between past struggles and our daily lives.

Get 40% off books in our ‘Locating Legacies’ reading list: plutobooks.com/locatinglegacies 

 

This project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

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Listen to more episodes here.

‘Part of The Furniture’ Stuart Hall Artist Residency

Pausing half-way through her artist residency at the Stuart Hall Library, Dharma Taylor shares with us a collection of her notes, which she describes as being ‘all over the place, but honest insights into the way this research has organically developed’. Through her writing, she is finding connections between text as a starting point, inspiration directly from the design world and then ultimately, the physical realisation of her work.

 
   

A Living Archive – Research Progress by Dharma Taylor

 

“Just relax into it and let one publication lead to another.”

The above quote came as reassurance from artist and designer Mac Collins after speaking to him on the phone from what sounded like his studio in Nottingham just before he showcased a new large-scale body of work at the British Pavilion for Venice Biennale 2023 titled ‘Dancing Before The Moon’ and just after he presented a new chair in Ronan Mckenzie’s group show ‘To Be Held’ in Margate.

I reached out to Mac as part of my research as the sixth artist in residence at the Stuart Hall Library. Mac and I have supported each other’s furniture narratives for the past few seasons, and I’ve always respected and related to him as a designer who works with wood as a material.

   

First on my reading list, I was drawn to a lovely little publication by Pricegore and Yinka Illori called Dulwich Pavilion. Reading about Yinka’s collaboration with Pricegore and how it was a last-minute collaboration ‘made on the Friday before the Monday pitch deadline, fusing European and West African cultural traditions to make a Pavilion that might resonate with the diverse communities of South London and beyond.’ Dingle Price and Alex Gore go on to mention how afternoons were spent sharing ideas and memories; and how as images accumulated in their imagination / mind’s-eye they noticed commonalities between lifestyles and buildings that had previously seemed so different.

This reminds me of the woven textile piece I created for Paul Smith titled Lightbeam and the subsequent wooden structures that arose from this piece. Lightbeam comes from a childhood memory of living in South London, Greenwich, using colour and hue as a language that many seem to resonate with.

   

Reading the beautiful descriptions in Dulwich Pavilion of the colour and contrasting hues in the structure, akin to coloured paper-thin Rizla. The work described here makes me think of artist Adam Nathaniel Furman and the full-scale tests he did for a polychromatic work for Paddington Central. There is a similarity in the ways all these artists use colour and blend culture.

This part in my research and direction resonates more exclusively with Yinka’s The Colour Palace and the importance of community, and the footnotes of Peckham being ‘Little Lagos’.

Speaking to Mac Collins about his recent group exhibit and his sand cast aluminium brass and Douglas fir chair titled Collective Instinct. His explorative inspiration behind this chair was engineering and instinct that bind or bond individuals within a community. Currently on show in Margate. Cast in aluminium and back hurtlingly heavy this piece feels permanent!

   

Reading the words of Job Floris talking about the Pavilion being temporary – This residency “Part of The Furniture” feels like I want to create something more permanent; whether that be a textile or a chair to relax into.

Looking into iniva archival pieces such as Tangled Yarns exploring politics of the textile supply chain through time discussed by Alke Schmidt. I think perhaps researching this paper is more of a metaphor for the tangled discourse or an unravelling of concepts and ideas on this research journey. Also thinking about how I can link future textile work of my own with elements of this library research. This archive piece, both written and audio, asks questions about issues of race and gender exploitation and violence.

– This creates a side shoot of research into the socio-economic impacts of the textile industry past and present.

Reading Maria Amidu’s Toast, which is beautiful, and in it she mentions how Stuart Hall has taught her so much and made her feel a sense of place. This idea of ‘a sense of place’ is the essence of this project. A sense of place, a place in time, constituting an archive, a living archive, to become permanent and necessary like part of the furniture.

I’m also reading The Journal of Dress found within the shelves of iniva and I want to think about how can I link this stylistic approach into woodwork, linking these elements together that come naturally to my multidisciplinary way of working.

 
 

Further links and research findings – making links with books within the library and practitioners outside:

 

Taking the opening quote to this research literally and letting one publication lead to another within the Stuart Hall Library I found Veerle Poupeye exploring Caribbean Art, looking at Edna Manley and Wilfredo Lam: The Chair 1943.

According to Lam the chair has an association with the divine – I’m currently unclear how this would be, however I do recognise a link to the chair being ‘a support for the human form throughout life’. Giving us the sense of a person or persons that once sat and existed in this structure.

Following from a conversation I had with artist Henrique J Paris as part of my artist residency with the Stuart Hall Foundation and iniva we spoke about body movement, home, social processes, objects holding information (rings, beads etc as a LIVING ARCHIVE). We asked each other questions like; ‘what is an archive?’ and thought about ideas of ‘styling the home’. In his work exhibits: Mem|ora|bilia and Tactility: Ethics of Cultural Heritage and Land he uses furniture and archive images of his own family photo history to ask explore gestures and social processes evoked through materiality.

     

I discovered Henrique’s work through friend Darryl Daley and his exhibition What You See Here / What you Hear Here at the Now Gallery. After speaking and sharing ideas with Henrique we found a similar discourse between objects and history and feeling. He subtitles this part in our conversation “Feelings that materials speak”. I love the idea of objects holding information, particularly beads and rings, and if these objects become living in some way, which links to the concept of a living archive. This makes me think… without these objects would we still be able to pinpoint memory? Going back to Stuart Hall’s Constituting An Archive, Third Text paper (2001) and a quote within that “The moment of the archive represents the end of a certain kind of creative innocence and the beginning of a new stage of self-consciousness, of self-reflexivity in an artistic movement…The whole apparatus of a history, key figures, and works, tendencies, shifts, breaks, ruptures, slips into place silently.”

Henrique investigates concerns around both memory and imagination: accounting social and cultural processes. In Henrique’s Mem|ora|bilia (2021) he interprets images and found objects that tell collective histories. Whereas in Tactility: Ethics of Cultural Heritage and Land (2022) he questions Eurocentric presumptions of what archives are, mean and how they should look.

   

This led me to the archive News Release piece titled The West Indian Front Room, Memories and impressions of Black British Homes focusing on an installation by Michael McMillan drawing from childhood memories of his parents’ home. “His rich recollection of being a young boy in his parents front room describes some of these objects and evokes the textures, smells and sounds of that East London home: Sunshine beams through pressed lace curtains onto the colourful patterned carpet” The links within this news release snippet relate to my textile work Lightbeam and I’m excited to see how my research further develops into the creation of new work relating to other artists and practitioners alike.

 

Artist and maker Dharma Taylor is the sixth Stuart Hall Library Artist Residency – a funded research opportunity initiated by Stuart Hall Foundation and iniva. The residency takes place at the Stuart Hall Library in London, UK, and builds on Professor Stuart Hall’s unique contribution to intellectual and cultural life. Read more about Dharma’s work and the Stuart Hall Library residency on our news page.

 

All images provided courtesy of  their respective artists:

  1. Pricegore – Dulwich Pavilion.
  2. Dharma Taylor – Lightbeam (Photo by Dan Weill).
  3. Mac Collins – Collective Instinct.
  4. Henrique J Paris – Mem| ora| bilia.
  5. Henrique J Paris – Mem| ora| bilia.
  6. Henrique J Paris – Tactility: Ethics of Cultural Heritage and Land.
 

In episode 5 of Locating Legacies, series host Gracie Mae Bradley speaks to Sita Balani. They explore the legacies of queer liberation struggles on contemporary class politics, and the ways in which queer radicalism has expanded notions of liberatory politics in the everyday. They also discuss the radical potential of the trade union movement, and unpack the material roots of an ongoing transphobic moral panic.

Sita is a Lecturer in English at Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of Deadly and Slick: Sexual Modernity and the Making of Race, and co-author of Empire’s Endgame.

About the Series:

Locating Legacies is a fortnightly podcast created by the Stuart Hall Foundation, co-produced by Pluto Press and funded by Arts Council England. The series is dedicated to tracing the reverberations of history to contextualise present-day politics, deepen our understanding of some of the crucial issues of our time, and to draw connections between past struggles and our daily lives.

Get 40% off books in our ‘Locating Legacies’ reading list: plutobooks.com/locatinglegacies 

 

This project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

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Listen to more episodes here.

In episode 4 of Locating Legacies, series host Gracie Mae Bradley speaks to Vijay Prashad. They discuss the legacies of the Cold War from the vantage point of the Global South, to contextualise the global economic, ecological and political crises that we’re struggling through today. They also consider the liberatory potential of nationalism, what meaningful solidarity might look like for climate activists in the Global North, and the profound and lasting impact of taking collective action.

Vijay Prashad is a Marxist historian and writer. He is Executive Director at the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research, a movement-driven research institution based in Argentina, Brazil, India and South Africa, and the chief editor of LeftWord Books. His recent publications include The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. PowerStruggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism and Red Star Over the Third World.

About the Series:

Locating Legacies is a fortnightly podcast created by the Stuart Hall Foundation, co-produced by Pluto Press and funded by Arts Council England. The series is dedicated to tracing the reverberations of history to contextualise present-day politics, deepen our understanding of some of the crucial issues of our time, and to draw connections between past struggles and our daily lives.

Get 40% off books in our ‘Locating Legacies’ reading

list: plutobooks.com/locatinglegacies

This project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

_

Listen to more episodes here.

In episode 3 of Locating Legacies, series host Gracie Mae Bradley speaks to Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò. They discuss how politics moves between the world of ideas and the material world, the process by which radical ideas are co-opted by elite interests, and the importance of organising across difference.

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. His public philosophy, including articles exploring intersections of climate justice and colonialism, has been featured in the New YorkerThe NationBoston ReviewAl Jazeera and more. He is the author of Elite Capture and Reconsidering Reparations.

About the Series:

Locating Legacies is a fortnightly podcast created by the Stuart Hall Foundation, co-produced by Pluto Press and funded by Arts Council England. The series is dedicated to tracing the reverberations of history to contextualise present-day politics, deepen our understanding of some of the crucial issues of our time, and to draw connections between past struggles and our daily lives.

Get 40% off books in our ‘Locating Legacies’ reading list: plutobooks.com/locatinglegacies

This project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

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Listen to more episodes here.

The Stuart Hall Foundation welcomed renowned public intellectual Jacqueline Rose for our 6th Annual Stuart Hall Public Conversation at Conway Hall, London, on Saturday 11th February 2023. She delivered a lecture entitled ‘What is a Subject? Politics and Psyche After Stuart Hall’. Stuart Hall’s work can be read as a perpetual searching, however difficult or painful, for the linchpins which entangle intimate personal history to global political relations. It’s through this approach to reading Hall that Rose began to realise how deeply embedded his work was within psychoanalytical thought. In this lecture, Rose tracked the key aspects of Hall’s thinking, and questioned how, through its prism, he might have reached out to some of the most anguished political and cultural realities of our current times. Following Rose’s keynote and a brief intermission, she joined psychotherapist Sharon Numa in conversation. Watch a recording of the event here.

In episode 2 of Locating Legacies, series host Gracie Mae Bradley speaks to Françoise Vergès. They explore the connections and disparities between the anticolonial politics of the 1950s and 1960s in relation to today’s movements to decolonise educational, arts and heritage institutions.

Françoise Vergès is an activist and public educator. She grew up on the island of La Réunion, and worked for many years as a journalist and editor in the women’s liberation movement in France. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of several books, including A Decolonial Feminism and A Feminist Theory of Violence. She regularly works with artists, has produced exhibitions and is the author of documentary films on Maryse Condé and Aimé Césaire.

About the Series:

Locating Legacies is a fortnightly podcast created by the Stuart Hall Foundation, co-produced by Pluto Press and funded by Arts Council England. The series is dedicated to tracing the reverberations of history to contextualise present-day politics, deepen our understanding of some of the crucial issues of our time, and to draw connections between past struggles and our daily lives.

Get 40% off books in our ‘Locating Legacies’ reading list: plutobooks.com/locatinglegacies

This project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

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In episode 1 of Locating Legacies, series host Gracie Mae Bradley speaks to Kojo Koram about Stuart Hall’s contributions to radical thought and their relevance to present-day politics. Gracie and Kojo discuss some of the themes in Stuart Hall’s work pertaining to empire, neoliberalism and right-wing politics, and consider how Hall’s work might be utilised in the face of economic, ecological and political crises

Kojo Koram is a lecturer at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Uncommon Wealth: Britain and the Aftermath of Empire, co-author of Empire’s Endgame and editor of The War on Drugs and the Global Colour Line.

About the Series:

Locating Legacies is a fortnightly podcast created by the Stuart Hall Foundation, co-produced by Pluto Press and funded by Arts Council England. The series is dedicated to tracing the reverberations of history to contextualise present-day politics, deepen our understanding of some of the crucial issues of our time, and to draw connections between past struggles and our daily lives.

Over the next 12 weeks, we are proud to be hosting contributions from Kojo Koram, Françoise Vèrges, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Vijay Prashad, Sita Balani and Ruth Wilson Gilmore.

This project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

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Listen to more episodes here.

We are excited to announce the Locating Legacies Podcast – a fortnightly podcast created by the Stuart Hall Foundation and co-produced by Pluto Press. The series is dedicated to tracing the reverberations of history to contextualise present-day politics, deepen our understanding of some of the crucial issues of our time, and to draw connections between past struggles and our daily lives.

Hosted by writer and organiser, Gracie Mae Bradley, the series explores some of the reoccurring themes in Stuart Hall’s thinking. Gracie, along with some of the most critical voices of our time, examine: the current state of right-wing politics, contemporary decolonial politics, the co-option of ‘identity politics’, how the Cold War has shaped politics today, the relationship between queer radicalism and class struggle, and the politics of abolition in the UK context.

In this trailer for the series, Chris Browne sits down with Gracie Mae Bradley and Orsod Malik, the Stuart Hall Foundation’s Programme Curator, to discuss how this project came to be and what listeners can expect from the episodes to come.

Over the next 12 weeks, we are proud to be hosting contributions from Kojo Koram, Françoise Vèrges, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Vijay Prashad, Sita Balani and Ruth Wilson Gilmore.

This project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

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The panel discussed the legacies of covid, draw connections between cost of living crisis and healthcare, and the impacts of privatisation on low-income communities. • Laia Bécares, Kings College London, CoDE • Jabeer Butt, Race Equality Foundation • Dawn Edge, University of Manchester • Dharmi Kapadia, University of Manchester, CoDE (Chair) Part of the ‘Racial Inequality in Times of Crises’ conference (31st October-3rd November), hosted by Stuart Hall Foundation and Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE). See more information about the conference.The panel focused on responses to the cost of living crisis and the housing crisis, impact on low-income communities, and resistance to the crisis. • Nigel de Noronha, University of Nottingham • Stuart Hodkinson, University of Leeds • Samir Jeraj, The New Statesman • Ruby Lott-Lavigna, openDemocracy (Chair) Part of the ‘Racial Inequality in Times of Crises’ conference (31st October-3rd November), hosted by Stuart Hall Foundation and Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE). See more information about the conference.This session focused on the state of queer activism in the UK, coalition building in times of crises, and queer class politics. • Omie Dale, UK Black Pride • Jason Okundaye, The Guardian • Saskia Papadakis, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants • Ruth Ramsden-Karelse, ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry (Chair) Part of the ‘Racial Inequality in Times of Crises’ conference (31st October-3rd November), hosted by Stuart Hall Foundation and Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE). See more information about the conference.This panel thought through the connections between education and policing, the expansion of prevent, and ideas around alternative curriculums. • Zahra Bei, No More Exclusions • John Holmwood, People’s Review of Prevent, University of Nottingham • Remi Joseph-Salisbury, University of Manchester, CoDE • Bridget Byrne, University of Manchester, CoDE Part of the ‘Racial Inequality in Times of Crises’ conference (31st October-3rd November), hosted by Stuart Hall Foundation and Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE). See more information about the conferenceIn the twenty-five years since the release of her world-renowned Booker Prize winning novel, The God of Small Things (1997), Arundhati Roy has consistently interrogated the meaning of justice in all its complexity, social, economic and ecological. Her last novel was The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017) which has been translated into more than 40 languages. Her latest collection of essays is Azadi: Freedom, Fascism, and Fiction in the Age of the Virus (2020). As we endure an unprecedented global pandemic, governmental inaction in response to the climate crisis, and the intensification of authoritarian practices across the global north and south alike, Arundhati Roy was invited by Stuart Hall Foundation to reflect on how we have arrived at this conjuncture and what might come next. Roy discusses the local and global dimensions of these crises and the ongoing resistance to them. Roy is then joined in conversation with Farzana Khan, Executive Director and Co-founder of Healing Justice London, and responds to questions from the audience. Watch here.

What is the word ‘Black’ in ‘Black Cultural Institutions’? Why does it seem like there are so few black-led arts organisations in the UK that are outside of London? What does it mean to operate within or without the mainstream? We invite an intergenerational panel to come together and reflect on the challenges of building and sustaining Black arts and culture institutions in Britain.

The conversation, hosted by Stuart Hall Foundation on 19th July 2022 was chaired by art curator Ian Sergeant, and featured Gilane Tawadros, Chair of the Stuart Hall Foundation, Lisa Anderson, Director of the Black Cultural Archive, Marlene Smith, former member of the BLK Art Group and current Director of The Room Next to Mine, and MAIA Group’s Creative Director, Amahra Spence.

Find out more about our #ReconstructionWork Series here.

#ReconstructionWork: Building Black Cultural Institutions’ was supported by Arts Council England.

The Conversation Continues: We Are Still Listening is a 40-minute immersive soundscape from artist Trevor Mathison that offers a re-examination of the lives and histories of those laid to rest at the cemetery in the context of contemporary anti-racism movements, honouring Stuart Hall’s memory and his ongoing impact on contemporary national debates. Audiences are invited to listen to the soundscape on headphones as they follow their own pathway through Highgate Cemetery’s beautifully conserved landscape of monuments, buildings, flora and fauna.

The piece is available for the first time from Saturday 11th June 2022 as part of Highgate Festival in London (11th – 19th June). We recommend audiences experience the soundscape from within Highgate Cemetery as intended by the artist Trevor Mathison.

Commissioned by the Stuart Hall Foundation in partnership with Highgate Cemetery and LUX, and with funding from Arts Council England and The Elephant Trust.

This discussion and performance was part of a special preview of Trevor Mathison’s newly commissioned artwork ‘The Conversation Continues: We Are Still Listening’. The audio-based piece is an immersive soundscape which explores the legacy of Stuart Hall (1932-2014) and the radical thinkers laid to rest at Highgate Cemetery.

The preview was accompanied by a live conversation between commissioned artist Trevor Mathison and Aasiya Lodhi, former BBC radio producer and Senior Lecturer at University of Westminster. Aasiya Lodhi’s research explores race, coloniality and voice in mid-twentieth century BBC radio programming, especially in relation to Caribbean writers. Aasiya and Trevor discussed some of the inspirations behind the commission, the legacies of the thinkers resting in the cemetery, and sonic engagements with Stuart Hall’s ideas. The event also included a live reading from Hall’s posthumous memoir ‘Familiar Stranger’, performed by actor Joseph Black.

Attendees were the first to experience Trevor Mathison’s latest work, intended for listening whilst wandering through the Highgate Cemetery grounds. The soundscape is now available to all at the cemetery and via the Stuart Hall Foundation’s website.

More information is available here.

This discussion and performance was part of a special preview of Trevor Mathison’s newly commissioned artwork ‘The Conversation Continues: We Are Still Listening’. The audio-based piece is an immersive soundscape which explores the legacy of Stuart Hall (1932-2014) and the radical thinkers laid to rest at Highgate Cemetery.

The preview was accompanied by a live conversation between commissioned artist Trevor Mathison and Aasiya Lodhi, former BBC radio producer and Senior Lecturer at University of Westminster. Aasiya Lodhi’s research explores race, coloniality and voice in mid-twentieth century BBC radio programming, especially in relation to Caribbean writers. Aasiya and Trevor discussed some of the inspirations behind the commission, the legacies of the thinkers resting in the cemetery, and sonic engagements with Stuart Hall’s ideas. The event also included a live reading from Hall’s posthumous memoir ‘Familiar Stranger’, performed by actor Joseph Black.

Attendees were the first to experience Trevor Mathison’s latest work, intended for listening whilst wandering through the Highgate Cemetery grounds. The soundscape is now available to all at the cemetery and via the Stuart Hall Foundation’s website.

More information is available here.

The state backlash against the mass protests for racial justice in June 2020 is well underway. A reaction punctuated by the recent passing of the Police, Crimes and Sentencing Bill, which has increased the maximum penalty for criminal damage to a memorial from three months to ten years. As the state rushes to protect its memorials, this conversation focuses on questions of memory to ask: who speaks for the past?

For this event in the #ReconstructionWork series, the Stuart Hall Foundation welcomed artists and educators Barby Asante and Shawn Sobers to discuss the ways in which events can be remembered and misremembered, offering a space to interrogate the politics of memory.

‘#ReconstructionWork: Whose Memorials?’ is produced in partnership with the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE).

Supported by Arts Council England.

This event took place online.

On 9th June 2022, the Stuart Hall Foundation hosted Special Preview: ‘The Conversation Continues: We Are Still Listening’, launching Trevor Mathison‘s newly commissioned audio-based artwork exploring the legacy of Stuart Hall (1932-2014) and the radical thinkers laid to rest at Highgate Cemetery. Following a preview of the soundscape experience on-site, the event featured a conversation between artist Trevor Mathison and lecturer Aasiya Lodhi, a reading from actor Joseph Black and introductions from Ian Dungavell, Chief Executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, and Becky Hall, child psychotherapist, psychoanalyst and trustee of the Stuart Hall Foundation. Becky Hall’s introduction to the evening presenting the commission is published in full below:

And so it was that I held the watering can and my mother the secateurs as we briskly set about the now familiar route through our much-loved Highgate Cemetery. The task in hand: some midsummer graveside weeding and pruning, straightening, and sorting out, making my father look respectable. It was an inclement morning, thick with the tang of wet, earthy smells. Not a morning for pausing at the huddles of Hellebores clustered in their melancholy colours between ancient stones or marvelling at the unruly parties of forget-me-nots running riot through the trees. A cool, sad June morning, in 2020, London locked down and locked into a new reckoning with the ghosts of Empire, rattling their chains in syncopated time with the beat across the Atlantic where fault lines shuddered at the murder of George Floyd.

This is where the conversation began. Turning right at Marx, straight on to The Mound where, on a sunny day the warmth of the stone at Stuart’s grave still gives one a temporary brush with his vitality. What would he have made of it all? What turn will this dialogue with history take, what are the stakes and the conditions of belonging to the new territories being claimed? And so it was that we joined the community of Highgate visitors who talk, sometimes aloud, to their loved ones lost – words alighting in the trees, nestling under stones, settling in the soil – fragments of conversation given a new home in the extraordinary palimpsest of sounds and states and feeling that artist Trevor Mathison has brought for our attention today. I would like to thank him and his assistant editor Beverley Bennet on behalf of the family and the Stuart Hall Foundation for this work, and for the invitation to pay attention. I would like also to thank Ian Dungavell and the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust for listening, to the Arts Council and Elephant Trust for their funding, to Ben Cook and LUX for their collaboration, Caro Communications for their PR support and to Gilane, the Trustees, Harriet, Orsod and Ilze (our team at the Stuart Hall Foundation) for pulling this off. Thanks to everyone who has contributed and supported this project.

Stuart was never going to be buried ‘back home’ in Jamaica. There was no such ‘home’ place to return to. In the end one has to find a position, he always said, and it was the once strange Lyme trees of North West London, not the glade of an illusory mango grove or the dusty yards of Constant Spring which finally felt most familiar: the home he made with my mother, the family, friendships, political projects, Cultural Studies, collectives of Birmingham and Kilburn, The Open University, black British artists, generations of students, at his typewriter, teaching, through intellectual enquiry and always, in conversation. Perhaps it could have been anywhere – Stuart really was a modest man – but his choice of Highgate Cemetery was a rare admission that his life, his contribution, had earned him a proper place and that he wished, in death, to claim it. He described on film in later life the lonely feeling of being out of sync with the times – not out of touch – but no longer quite in step. I think the prospect of being re-settled in the company of old friends, in this beautiful place, among the traditions of radical thought, near enough to home and in British soil must have felt a good place to rest.

Highgate is most likely filled with venerable ghosts, the serious nature of radical tradition setting the tone amongst its residents – it’s not easy to get a place here after all. I trust then that Stuart has smartened up his act since his hammy performance as the Ghost of McPhail in a piece of family theatre on a damp Scottish holiday – an eerie home-made soundtrack on the tape recorder as he stepped forth from the dusty drapes of a high windowsill, swathed in an ancient eiderdown and holding forth a kipper (to the great alarm of the younger members of the audience). I hope there is room for such high spirits in Highgate and suspect that it was Stuart’s mischievous, Midsummer sprite, his rebellious insistence on using as many exclamation marks as he fancied, that conjured up in me, on that cool, June morning – in the grim gloom of racialised violence, the disgrace of the un-welcomed Windrush arrivals and those without leave to remain – the wish to rattle, the urge to make a stink – “You have a black body here, make it matter.”

“I feel an email coming on,” I said, rousing a smile in my mother at the prospect of me rolling my terrible eyes and gnashing my terrible teeth, putting in a spirited performance as the high-minded custodian of my father’s reputation. And so it was that at 3 minutes past 9 on Midsummer day 2020, I wrote an email to The Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust imperiously entitled ‘Query’. At 11.53 on that same morning, Ian Dungavell (the Chief Executive) wrote back, and an old-fashioned telephone conversation began.

We last stood in this chapel to bury Stuart and never thought at that time that the Miles Davis blues and greens that my brother chose to play us out, would ever bring us back in new dialogue with such old tunes. Trevor has chosen Familiar Stranger, the unfinished, posthumously recovered text that Stuart was working on until he died – his late life efforts to lay out and lay down the unrest of his own history – to speak in a new arrangement. It is the book in which the uneasy rhythm of Stuart’s lifelong preoccupation with what it was he left behind sings out, like his love of the Blues, as it always did, with what he made of his arrival. And so it is that we come here in memory and with the necessity of new things, the thrust and verdant greens of new shoots; a soundscape that speaks with the past to the urgency of the times.

Photo: Jessica Emovon

How can we make sense of the concept of ‘care’ in today’s political and economic landscape? After twelve years of austerity, large scale public funding cuts to education, state support for low-income communities, and essential healthcare services have all led to a crisis of care – a crisis thrown into sharp relief by the Covid-19 pandemic and the structural inequalities it continues to amplify.

In this event, Dharmi Kapadia who led on the recent NHS Race and Health Observatory Report on ethnic inequalities in healthcare, and Dzifa Afonu, artist and clinical psychologist, reflected on the concept of care in relation to austerity, institutional inequalities, and the ways communities have built and are building networks of care in response.

#ReconstructionWork: The Politics of Care was produced in partnership with the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE).

Supported by Arts Council England.

5th Annual Stuart Hall Public Conversation – ‘Manufacturing Dissent: Moments of Solidarity’ took place on 3rd February 2022, with speakers Raymond Antrobus, David Austin, Liz Fekete, Catherine Hall, Sado Jirde, Farzana Khan, Pragna Patel, Fatima Rajina, Gilane Tawadros and Joshua Virasami. Chaired by Gary Younge.

A year on from the global political protests for racial equality, and through a period marked by growing inequality, intolerance and authoritarianism in Britain and across the globe, we invited speakers to respond to these questions: Is there a discourse capable of speaking to a wide range of people from different backgrounds? What social, cultural, political, and economic differences can coalitions transcend? How can difference be expressed within a collective whilst maintaining cohesion? How can we move from forming coalitions/alliances towards a more unified and transformative politics fit for our times?

Our Public Conversation event has been our yearly moment to pause and reflect, inviting an audience to engage with the work of artists and thinkers on a chosen theme that responds to recent political, cultural and social changes. Previous years have pursued themes through multiple lenses, providing a chance for questions and discussion, and punctuated with interventions by poets, artists and musicians that open up a different space for thinking.

 

“How can we organise these huge, randomly varied, and diverse things we call human subjects into positions where they can recognise one another for long enough to act together, and thus to take up a position that one of these days might live out and act through as an identity? Identity is at the end, not the beginning, of the paradigm. Identity is what is at stake in political organisation. It isn’t that subjects are there and we just can’t get to them. It is that they don’t know yet that they are subjects of a possible discourse. And that always in every political struggle, since every political struggle is always open, is possible either to win their identification or lose it.” – Stuart Hall, ‘Subjects in History: Making Diasporic Identities’ (1998) from ‘Selected Writings on Race and Difference’ published by Duke University Press, 2021.

Supported by Arts Council England.

A discussion celebrating the publication of Stuart

Hall, Selected Writings on Marxism, chaired by

Catherine Hall

This article is an edited and abridged version of a discussion organised by the Stuart Hall Foundation in partnership with Duke University Press (June 2021). Transcribed and published by Lawrence Wishart’s Soundings Journal (Volume 2021, Issue 79).

Introduction

Catherine: This book is one in a series of edited volumes of Stuart’s work over the years, edited by Bill Schwarz and myself. Stuart and I shared a life for fifty years, and as a personal note, I could say that I witnessed, at second hand, the writing of these essays, from the incessant clacking of the typewriter keys in the long nights of the 1970s to the quieter work at the computer in the later decades – a quiet that was frequently interrupted with despairing exclamations as to the horrors of new technology … There are many different kinds of memories associated with this body of work. I’d like to ask Greg to open our session by telling us something of his thinking about the book, the issues he wanted to focus on, and the selection he made.

Gregor: As Catherine said, there’s this mega series that she and Bill Schwarz have edited, coming from Duke, but there are other publications too, which testify to Stuart Hall’s increasing, indeed remarkable, renown these days, and his repute, and the spread and reach of his work continue to grow all the time. But I meet a lot of people, maybe especially students or younger colleagues and readers, who seem surprised when I say that for the prime middle years of his career and life, which I would point out is the period in other thinkers’ work that Stuart himself often most liked, he was unquestionably – and I’m talking about at least fifteen years – centrally and deeply engaged in the question of Marxism. Now, I nearly entitled this volume, ‘Stuart Hall on the Question of Marxism’, rather than ‘On Marxism’, because I think it’s fair to say that even if you want to conclude he’s a neo-Marxist, in my view that’s still a form of Marxism that’s of vital significance to the life and nature of Marxism as a discourse. So, Hall was constantly wrestling in a very intense way with Marxist concepts, problems and readings.

Of course, this volume just testifies to something – it can’t contain all his relevant writings – but I hope it gives a good flavour of the different ways in which Hall engaged with central questions of Marxism and indeed transformed them in his distinctive way of handling them. So, I’m seeking to encourage everyone to read and engage with Hall engaging with Marxism. It’s an absolutely central dimension of his overall trajectory. This might be particularly relevant now, because, although Marxism declined amongst left theoretical and political circles in the 1990s and the early part of the Noughties, since the so-called global financial crash of 2008 there’s no doubt that Marxism has achieved a certain wider understanding, attraction and readership than those decades where it was rather out of fashion. Neither Marx nor Marxism has been, as it were, fully rehabilitated, but that just poses the question even more sharply: what kind of Marxism or neo-Marxism seems important to the contemporary era? And how crude, subtle, or complex do we think it needs to be to continue to have an intellectual life, and distinctive consequences?

I hope, then, that the volume poses that kind of general issue, not least because my sense of appreciation of Hall is that if you want a complex Marxism, a subtle Marxism, an agonistic Marxism where nothing is taken for granted in any corner of debate, then there’s no one that embodies that spirit of enquiry and engagement better than Stuart Hall. That’s the fundamental rationale for the volume.

Secondly, within that, I wanted to illustrate the different ways in which Hall articulated his evolving sense of Marxism and the type of text and context in which he did that. That’s reflected in the structure of the book, so that Part 1, the longest part, features four sustained theoretical encounters where Hall’s working with Marx – in Marx, for Marx – against some aspects of Marx himself and against other kinds of Marxism. I stress that these are theoretical ‘readings’, and I bring this out in the commentary, because this is something about Stuart Hall’s method of understanding that’s very important to him. He likes to work with the grain of thinkers through careful textual progression, even if in due course he wants to take some distance from them. And this naturally applies to Marx as well, along with later thinkers, not least Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci – his favourite Marxist, and the most politically consequential for Hall. So that’s the first part of the book.

Part 2 is more ‘applied’, for want of a better term; it’s more thematically focused and organised, offering slightly more concrete overviews of problem fields. So, for instance, the writings I excerpt from there include classic ‘Birmingham Cultural Studies’ work – Policing the Crisis, a long and complex book, and Resistance through Rituals, a canonical volume on subcultures and youth, together with one of his many, extraordinary Open University set textbook overviews, this one being on Liberalism as the quintessential political discourse of modernity itself.

We’re coming down the levels of abstraction here, if you like, even if Stuart Hall is still taking things in a big sweep, and many readers over the years have found these works of huge ‘conjunctural’ value without any very specific implications concerning Marxism as a whole. But I’ve edited these readings to show that, especially in retrospect, these ‘Birmingham School’ era works represent committedly Marxist framings, albeit, as always with Hall, in broad and encompassing style.

The third part of the book then brings along a little light relief, if you like. Its pieces are shorter and slightly more polemical, directly involved in encounters with other thinkers in the Marxist tradition, bringing out with some clarity what Hall thought about the business of theory and theorising, about core questions of culture, structure and ideology. Those exchanges are with E.P. Thompson, the great historian, with political and cultural economy scholar Bob Jessop and associates, and with Nicos Poulantzas, the Greek Marxist structuralist thinker.

Towards the end, in the last two chapters, I tackle the issue that many people familiar with Hall’s overall work and persona will want to pose, which is, ‘Hey, yes, a kind of Marxist, but come on, surely Hall pulled right away from Marxism in the1980s so that certainly by the early Noughties he couldn’t really be thought to be a Marxist in any serious sense?’ Well, that’s a valid and challenging question and I address it by selecting two readings from Hall which pinpoint two different ways in which this question of his departure from Marxism emerges quite sharply. One is in relation to postcoloniality/post-colonialism, and that’s essential because not only is the essay I’ve chosen excellent in itself and worthy of a place in these volumes of his most distinctive papers, but of course the main observational and political fact is that it was postcoloniality, ethnicity, race, identity, that steadily came to the very centre of Hall’s attention, substantively and politically constituting ways of thinking that indeed represented a point of departure from the earlier Marxist or neo-Marxist Hall. At least in important respects. Yet, without denying that shift of focus and emphasis, my selection and commentary is meant to remind us that, as so often with Hall, this is a fascinatingly complex matter, and that while he works through the issues with typical astuteness and eloquence, there are telling tensions within his discourse too.

And then the other point of departure from Marxism I try to bring out in the selection is based on a thesis Hall put forward in the later 1990s to do with the increasing centrality of culture to both the social formation that we live in, and also to our analytical categories of understanding. And I try to indicate that there are important ways in which the ostensibly bold headline thesis turns out to be somewhat misleading or compromised, simply because Hall never quite lets go – never quite wants to let go – of a residual Marxist commitment, the residual Marxist commitment of his earlier period, of the Part 1 readings in this book. Those who knew Stuart Hall well will I’m sure acknowledge – and it’s there in his writings – that whilst he could be among the first to radically question older positions and styles of thinking, he was most reluctant to ever actually abandon anything or anyone that he considered useful or important. Raymond Williams would be a key instance of this: Hall developed some quite profound reservations about Williams, but he never deserted his general project and example. He (Hall) was a wonderfully inclusive persona and thinker.

Okay, but here comes another thing I wanted to get across, something that hasn’t been talked about much, at least directly. It seems to me that just because Stuart Hall was a radiant, charismatic personality, we tend to assume that his distinctiveness as a thinker needs no further explanation; it just comes down precisely to that compelling winningness of his, especially perhaps as a great speaker. Without wishing to deny all that – it was of formative importance for my own development – I develop the slightly more theoretical notion of Hall as mediator. Now this idea of mediator probably needs a bit of upgrading – it can sound too soppy, a bit of this and a bit of that, ‘getting to yes’, tension-less intellectual cuddling. Well, no, that’s not what I mean. Mediation includes hard work and hard arguing by way of synthesising inclusivity in the journey of ideas, respecting aspects of a position without endorsing whole positions; and in so doing transforming the problem under consideration. In other words, it’s an intellectual style, a modality, and not (only) a personal characteristic. In suggesting this I draw a little bit from Bruno Latour, who is certainly not a Marxist, and a bit more from Jean-Paul Sartre, who I’m not otherwise a tremendous fan of. But in Sartre’s short book The Problem of Method – which Hall liked – there’s a stimulating series of reflections about what it means to be a mediator and why Marxism in particular needs to be seen as a series of mediations rather than a propositional philosophy. And Hall exemplifies both that mode and that location brilliantly, mediating within Marxism – structuralism versus culturalism; economism versus ideologism; class and non-class phenomena relative to the cultural and ideological spheres – and between Marxism and other discourses, mediations that constitute ongoing zones of engagement. For Hall, of course, this meant ethnicity and race, cultural studies itself, feminism, psychoanalysis in various ways, post-Marxism in the form of Foucauldian thinking, and so on. None of these formations and interventions are ‘Marxist’ as such, in fact they can often be posed as anti-Marxist and not just non-Marxist; but Hall wanted them all to be part of the same universe of discourse and progressive horizon, to be as closely intertwined with Marxism as possible.

In sum: I wanted to illustrate from the selected texts, and bring out in the commentaries, that Hall was a peerless, dialectical (neo-)Marxist mediator; also to suggest that, in a strange kind of way, although he critiqued and revised and drew away somewhat from Marxism, Hall needed Marxism too. It gave him a kind of anchor, some consistent terms of reference, without which his notably pluralistic mediations might have risked slipping into mere eclecticism, with a loss of ultimate coherence and integrity.

Catherine: Thank you so much, Greg. I completely agree that Marxism did indeed do a lot for Stuart, and not only did he never abandon it as some kind of anchor, it also became increasingly important to him in the last years in the context of neoliberalism and his thinking around that. We’ll now welcome Bruce Robbins to the discussion.

Bruce: Greg’s description of Stuart Hall as a mediator seems to me spot on – like all the commentary in this brilliantly edited volume. But I want to put a slightly different spin on the idea of mediation. In fact, I’m going to do some of the upgrading that Greg just mentioned. I want to tug this idea of mediation gently in the direction of a concept that may seem played out, or closer to flattery than to serious analysis – Gramsci’s concept of the organic intellectual.

The obvious objection to describing Stuart Hall as an organic intellectual – aside from his own repudiation of the idea – is that what Gramsci had in mind was intellectuals thrown up by the working class and helping to organise both the class’s consciousness and the activities of the political party that represented it. It’s in this sense, I assume, that Stuart Hall says, speaking with his signature modesty about his work at the Birmingham Centre, ‘We were organic intellectuals without any organic point of reference’ – ‘organic point of reference’ meaning, I assume, class and party. In order to make the concept of the organic intellectual work under such different circumstances, the premise we would have to accept is that what defines the concept – relationship with, accountability to, a given political constituency – can be stretched beyond class and party so as to cover the diverse social collectivities that composed the new left. In other words, the non- and post-Marxist discourses that Greg sees Hall as mediating between. So, no assumption of a shared class, no assumption of a shared party – though you might indeed have both.

Mediation in the case of the collectivities that animated these discourses and movements was obviously a challenge. The idea of serving them as an organic intellectual is an even greater challenge. It would entail trying to discover or impose a political unity on collectivities that didn’t just happen to be diverse – for many of them diversity or difference was arguably a principle of self-definition. This kind of mediation is a bigger job than trying to bring together the so called class fractions that were the potential components of the unified working class. In the context of race, gender, sexuality and so on, the very idea of political unity can no longer be taken for granted. As Hall says in the essay in the book on the Post-Colonial: ‘Isn’t the ubiquitous, the soul-searing lesson of our times the fact that the political binaries do not (any longer) – did they ever – either stabilise the field of political antagonism in any permanent way or render it transparently intelligible’ (p295). It’s the challenge posed by the multiplicity of the post-60s movements. If political antagonism can’t be defined in binary terms, do you still have political antagonisms?’ My point here is not to give my blessing to the idea of Stuart Hall as the godfather of multiculturalism, but to be more precise about both the multiplicity of multiculturalism, and about the Marxism that is, after all, what we’re here to discuss.

On the one hand, difference was not the exclusive defining principle of the 1960s movements. It was certainly not the defining principle of the anti-war movement, the anti-imperialist movement, the environmental movement; and – as comes out in this collection – even the movements associated with race, gender and sexuality were not committed in any absolutist way to identity, subjectivity or culture: this is why, when Hall expressed his impatience with those who’d like to replace an economic reductionism with an exclusive or overriding concern with identity, subjectivity or culture, as he does in the passage just quoted, he knew he had an audience. Where was he trying to take that audience? That’s the point on which the concept of the organic intellectual adds something to the concept of mediation.

As Greg says, the idea of mediation may suggest asking everyone to compromise a little in the interest of peace and tranquillity, asking them to listen to everyone else, asking them to play nice. But what Hall means by mediator corresponds, more or less, to what Bruno Latour means by it: it does not mean an intermediary who takes the social and its problem fields as given – let’s say takes identities as given. True mediators ‘reconstitute the very concerns being addressed, in effect, they propose and co-produce a new social in and through their acts of problematisation and the network effects they trigger’ (p342, ‘Editor’s discussion of the Part III writings’). In this sense, Latour says, mediators are game changers. One might also say, as Latour would not, that the work of mediation Stuart Hall did was the work of a Gramscian organic intellectual. It was doing something to the players and the identities, helping to create a collective self-consciousness, reconstituting them in order to prepare them to take power.

For Gramsci, an organic intellectual was defined by ‘a capacity to be an organiser of society in general, including all its complex organisms of services right up to the state organism, because of the need to create the conditions most favourable to the expansion of their own class’. The function to which such an intellectual aspired, in other words, was ‘organising social hegemony and state domination’. The phrase ‘state domination’ is not sloppy or accidental. Gramsci’s abstract description of the working class is ‘any group that is developing toward dominance’. The phrase ‘any group’ may have been there only to avoid censorship – he couldn’t say ‘class’. But it also leaves the door open for us to shift the notion of the organic intellectual from class to the 1960s constituencies, including class. The problem is that most, if not all, of the 1960s constituencies did not see themselves as developing toward dominance. Dominance was what they suffered from, not what they were seeking. That’s where Stuart Hall’s Marxism comes in, in my view. For better or worse, his Marxism does not come in the form of an insistence that the other constituencies should follow the lead of the working class. And it does not come in as an insistence on economic determination in the last instance, though there are certainly places in this volume where that’s what Hall seems to assert, and maybe rightly so. It comes in as the simple, if mainly unarticulated, proposition, that there must be a coalition, that the eventual goal of the coalition is to take power, and that in order for this to happen, no one can rest content with their own given identity, their own given subjectivity, their own given experience. There would have to be some reconstituting.

When Hall defends theory against E.P. Thompson, and in particular against Thompson’s invocation of historical experience, I can’t help feeling that behind Thompson’s reliance on experience Hall is seeing all the present-day social collectivities that are putting a great deal of weight on their experience. If so, then theory would stand in for the necessary coerciveness, or, if you prefer, the impoliteness, not of Marxism as such, but of Marxism as the reminder that the goal of the project, however delayed, is taking power – something that can only be imagined at the eventual result of a successful coalition of collectivities that have no single antagonist and no pre-given form of unity. Bowing down to the sacredness of anyone’s experience is inconsistent with the project of developing toward dominance.

The project of developing toward dominance also makes sense, retrospectively, of Hall’s trademark concern with the state. The prospect of successfully taking over the state was, of course, never close enough to make the articulating of that goal seem like anything other than a bad joke. But as a long-term goal, the putting together of a coalition that would be capable of governing and capable of governing differently, seems a better way of understanding Hall’s career than, say, his concern for culture, which has frequently sucked all the oxygen out of the discussion. About the state, there was no established Marxist orthodoxy in the name of which Hall could be dismissed as a shameless revisionist. There was controversy, as Greg points out, and he contributed meaningfully to it.

There was also controversy, maybe even more of it, on the other side of his mediating efforts. The philosopher who was most consistently affirmed by the new social movements was Foucault, who, as Greg says, refused to trace power back to any single organising instance such as the state. Whether you think of Foucault as anti-statism, as sinister and neoliberal, or as anarcho-libertarianism – which could also be seen as sinister – there is no doubt that his position was utterly alien to the project of developing toward domination. Which means, in effect, that Hall was fighting Foucault for the soul of the movement.

As this volume brings out, it was in wrestling with Nicos Poulantzas’s theory of the state, especially what Poulantzas called authoritarian statism, that Stuart Hall came up with the alternative formula, authoritarian populism. I think he was fascinated by authoritarian populism – maybe there was even some excess in that fascination beyond his epoch-making insight into its extraordinary political success. If so, the obvious reason is that, like Gramsci, he thought the left could learn from the right’s capacity to bring popular feeling into a new ruling coalition, riding it into state power. So, yes, the idea of taking state power and governing might have seemed to him grandiose, ruled out for the moment, both because it was too far from the immediate goals and concerns of the new social movements and because of the weakness of the organised working class, but I don’t think he was ever not informed by that idea.

And under present circumstances I cannot help adding that even at non-revolutionary moments there is nothing reprehensibly reformist or revisionist about saying that we need the state to take on certain functions that private individuals and local collectivities cannot take on for themselves. One does not need the world historical incompetence of Donald Trump, and the hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths that resulted from it, to bring that point home. It’s not just in the US that you have to factor in the importance of the state to the anti-war movement – which was obliged to come to some understanding of military violence – or the importance of the state as an interlocutor for the women’s movement and the civil rights movement, which were trying to get their constituencies protected by legislation. Do we really think this was a mistake? If not, then the fury over culture and culturalism fades somewhat into the background.

It’s possible that everything I have been saying is shameless, special pleading for my own generation. Call it the 60s generation. What Stuart Hall called ‘generational consciousness’ is obviously not the soul prerogative of youth. At the same time, I’m consciously trying to balance Stuart Hall’s powerful and uncompromising commitment to the present conjuncture – to what could be done and had to be done here and now – with his commitment to the historical long term, which is a signature move of Marx and of Marxism.

For Stuart Hall it mattered that patriarchy, racism and military violence all have non-capitalist sources, and pre-capitalist as well as capitalist trajectories. It’s that long term as well as the generational short term that permitted him and permits us to entertain the unfashionable idea of progress – an idea that the new social movements have been reluctant to acknowledge. Stuart Hall ends the piece on Edward Thompson by focusing on ‘the complex moment of 1968, a contradictory inheritance which has to be neither simply revived nor simply denigrated, but reckoned with’. As usual, I think he was too modest here. He was not merely reckoning with that inheritance but reconstituting it, teaching the movements of 1968 a Gramscian lesson. Getting the generation to acknowledge what he called, in a significant phrase, ‘theoretical gains’. I think it’s fair to say that not all the gains were purely theoretical.

Catherine: Thank you so much, Bruce. How pertinent your comments are to now and to the decades that have gone. We’re now going hear from Angela. We look forward very much to what you have to say.

Angela: Re-reading the work which Greg has so meticulously gathered and so judiciously edited has been a great pleasure. One can see the threads of a ‘complex unity’ (a phrase favoured by Stuart) across the breadth of the work here, just as one can also see Stuart immersed in the process of working with and wrestling with Marx in a quite sensuous way, as a kind of intellectual craftsmanship. But I would also say that there is a sense of excitement which pervades the volume. There is a clear project that Stuart was constantly working on. And it was also risky work dedicating such time and energy to Marx’s writings, in a context where such endeavours did not win friends in the academy. (I must say however I depart from Greg’s emphasis on Stuart’s engagement with Sartre, which I would say was fleeting. Rather I would suggest Stuart was looking, quite far and wide, for writing which would permit a fuller phenomenological engagement with everyday life and with questions of subjectivity after the various ‘culturalist’ dialogues with Hoggart, Williams and indeed E.P. Thompson. He then quite quickly shifted in favour of European structuralism, language and the politics of meaning.)

One of the first points I was thinking about was who were Stuart’s interlocutors within the left in the early 1970s when he was preparing the first article in this volume. What was the constituency for this particular body of work? Was it the New Left Review crowd still? Was it his colleagues in the anti-imperialist movement? Or was it just himself and some students and a few academic scholars here and there across the world? It was different with the works that make up the middle section of the new volume. Resistance through Rituals and Policing the Crisis, when they were first published, had an immediate readership within what were seen as exciting new debates in sociology including the so-called New Criminology. Stanley Cohen in the UK had published his very well-known work Folk Devils and Moral Panics, and there was also, of course, the long tradition in youth cultural studies of the American Chicago School of Sociology.

What made Policing the Crisis and Resistance Through Rituals (which were joint-authored within the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies) distinctive, was that both books foregrounded Stuart’s insistence on a study of the historical conjuncture, something that did not go down well in sociology at the time. I remember this quite distinctly, the charge being that attempting some sort of historical analysis meant that the work could not be considered as properly sociological. But for the CCCS writers there was a need to look more widely over the years and to try and grasp something of the ‘social totality’. Policing the Crisis paved the way for Hall’s subsequent work on Thatcherism, and the scale of the study allowed him the space to rehearse a full range of concepts. In each of these studies, the authors (myself included, re Resistance through Rituals) introduced a specifically Marxist vocabulary, including elements of continental Marxism in the form of Althusser’s theory of ideology and, of course, Gramsci’s notion of hegemony.

Greg’s choice of chapter from Policing The Crisis ‘Black crime, black proletariat’ is laudable for the reason that here we see Stuart reflect on the position of black unemployed youth in the UK in the 1970s within a neo-Marxist historical frame which refutes their being understood as simply a ‘reserve army of labour’ at capital’s disposal and hence part of the lumpenproletariat, pulled in when capital might have some need for them and expelled when no longer needed. Hall writes:

The ‘wage-less’ are not to be equated with the traditional disorganised and undisciplined ‘lumpenproletariat’. This false identification arises only because the black working class is understood exclusively in relation to British capital. But, in fact, black labour can only be adequately understood, historically, if it is also seen as a class which has already developed in the Caribbean – vis-à-vis ‘colonial’ forms of capital – as a cohesive social force. In the colonial setting ‘wage-lessness’ was one of its key strategies. It is not surprising that this wage-less sector has reconstructed in the metropolitan ‘colony’ a supporting institutional network and culture.

Hall provides a historical gloss on the importance of a cultural politics of race and resistance on its own terms. And then in a move I found surprising, Hall digresses to reflect further on the Race Today writing and its engagement with the autonomist strand of Italian Marxism. Actually this is surprising only for reasons of my own amnesia. I had entirely forgotten that at Birmingham in the mid to late 1970s (albeit in this instance percolated through debates in the journal Race Today) there had been animated discussion about this writing, particularly for its emphasis on work, labour and industrial action. The Italians had drawn on Volume 3 of Capital to develop a fuller understanding of capitalism’s post-war expansiveness across so many institutions. Hall explains how this brought to attention the idea of ‘reproduction’,0 with ‘the transformation of the whole of society into a sort of “social factory” for capital’. This ‘massive concentration of capital’ which is smoothed over and ‘harmonised’ by the state leads to a mass proletarianization effect and the degradation of labour. This envisages popular alliances and forms of class and race struggles beyond the factory floor. Stuart shows how the idea of the recomposition of the working class, especially as understood with reference to the black working class in 1970s Britain, can portend new forms of resistance. Hall is especially prescient here, suggesting that there has been a progressive integration of labour into low skill jobs such that the boundaries between unemployment and ‘hustling’ almost break down.

This is of course more fully developed in his later writing on Thatcherism, but he hints early on that this situation (the degradation of labour) prompted Capital to ramp up the ideological work being undertaken ‘in the superstructures’ to disguise the pervasiveness of low skill work, and instead to decoratively re-brand and upskill such work with a constellation of aspirational and lifestyle values, especially at that point where women fully enter and remain in the labour market. (We might think about what used to be called pink collar work.) Back in the late 1970s Hall is envisaging a breaking down of the boundaries between unemployment, under-employment, zero hours jobs etc. He uses the word proletarianization (as does Maurizio Lazzarato writing on ‘immaterial labour’ many years later), which points to a potential for alliances and new forms of resistance, and there were indeed glimmers of this in the punk-n-reggae youth cultures of the 1980s including Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League.

Stuart was at the forefront of a group of thinkers (often in dialogue with Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe) who were developing a neoMarxism, in his case without grandiosity, and which later into the 1980s and 1990s became a Marxism ‘without guarantees’ which also insisted on moving away from meta-categories of political economy to look forensically downwards to the politics of language and the vernacular of everyday life. It was this that allowed Hall later to warn the left about the ways in which the working class was being successfully wooed by the right. His methodologies relied on an open-ended mode of inquiry, including a non-directive, self-questioning, de-centred, non-authorial, template for future work and study. In short, a kind of ‘ecriture’ which has Marxism at its centre but which pulls into play and foregrounds a post-structuralist sensibility, with no absolute beginnings, no linear narratives and no tight conclusions, and a search for a theoretical mode which gives depth and shape to empirical details and history. In many ways his distinctive post-structuralist Marxism is more fully displayed in the later writings published in Marxism Today, where he in effect invented what is nowadays referred to by the new and alt right (we can assume Steve Bannon read and took notes from Hall) as ‘cultural Marxism’. This too was among his major achievements.

I want to conclude, then, by pointing to the power of ideology – the way Hall’s writing from the mid-1970s engages with the right’s deployment of so many ideological strands in the form of popular vernacular, and how these are organised, orchestrated, assembled and reassembled in determinate ways, while at the same time they also seem to be loose and free-floating. Analysing the orchestration of these elements – which have accumulated over time so that they become sedimented as common sense – has helped us to understand the popular hegemony of the right over the decades. In the Aftermath of Feminism, published in 2008, I very consciously adopt a kind of Hallian conjunctural analysis, looking at the relationship between the New Labour government in the decade 1997 to 2007 and the thematics of that time as genres in popular culture – where young women were being brought forward as subjects of ‘female success’ but on the grounds that feminism had to be repudiated. Tony Blair reportedly could not abide the ‘f word’.

In my most recent book (Feminism and the Politics of Resilience, published in 2020) I turned to Hall’s phrase which he reclaimed from the title of a right-wing pamphlet from the 1980s, i.e. the slogan ‘breaking the spell of the welfare state’. Hall then used it as an analytic for decoding some of the key elements of the Thatcher agenda. I use it to understand the media attacks on welfare through the idea of poverty-shaming. Then shortly before his death in his writing on neoliberalism, Hall referred to the use of the vernacular by George Osborne, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to further turn the tide against the welfare society by describing recipients as ‘sleeping off a life on benefits’.

My final point this evening is to slightly challenge Greg’s comment at the very end of the volume, where he refers to Stuart, with characteristic modesty, conceding some ground in reflecting that he and others like him ought perhaps to have paid more attention to the economic. He was maybe referring to the attacks from various quarters arguing that cultural studies had been ‘merely cultural’. Stuart reflects and thinks, ‘Well, maybe we should have spent more time with the economic’. But, at the same time, when Stuart took part in Isaac Julien’s film Kapital in 2013, he absolutely took a stand against David Harvey, to a huge sigh of relief on my own part and many in the audience. Harvey said that we should have stuck to his particular kind of economistic Marxism all the way along, and Stuart opposed that in a characteristically polite and eloquent way. So I would suggest that we might benefit also from looking at Isaac Julien’s Kapital.

Catherine: Thank you Angela. We turn now to our final speaker, Brett St Louis.

Brett: The structure of what I want to do in my fifteen minutes is to first of all briefly sketch two of the main issues that jump out at me in relation to this volume, and then to offer some remarks that seek to bring these points together, and to say something about their significance to our present moment.

The first of the two main themes I want to discuss concerns the methodology of theory – the methodology of theory in the sense of theory in its social, political, cultural and critical formulations. I want to say something about the nuanced valances of understanding the social in its complexity that is crucial in relation to this volume.

Then I want to say something about what I see as an implicit – perhaps more implicit than explicit – humanistic and ethical intervention at play within this volume. One of the things that it is possible to see, to read, in this collection, is the way in which it pulls together various analytical commitments and practical concerns in relation to the deprivations and affirmative potential of human social lives. I think that there’s a humanistic and ethical intervention running throughout the volume that’s worth considering.

I also want to offer a few personal framing comments, and to say that my own intellectual preoccupations and concerns are largely focused on sociological questions of racialisation and racism, and on these questions as they emerge within and across given social situations. It seems to me obvious that Hall’s work is important in this regard, and indeed, as Greg points out in his introduction to the book, the distinction sometimes suggested between Hall’s ‘earlier’ Marxist work and the later work on ethnicity, on representation, on cultural politics, is somewhat of a misunderstanding: the concerns with ethnicity, with representation, with cultural politics, in their elegant critical theoretical formulations, cannot be considered or dismissed as idealist theoretical abstractions, even when one takes into account their occasional psychoanalytic flavour. Rather, we can see them as empirically informed, and with a material referent – and I’ll say more about this shortly. It’s in that sense, then, that Hall’s Marxism constitutes an ongoing thread in his work, albeit one that takes different forms at different times.

I’d like to also agree about the wonderful work that Greg has done, not just in collecting these chapters together but also in the commentary that he offers. One of the important aspects of Greg’s commentary is that it situates Hall’s work within its formative context in a way that is suggestive of its continued relevance and its applicability – though I don’t mean applicability in the literal sense of utility, but more in terms of a style of thought and a style of engagement. And this question of thought and engagement is what I want to focus my brief observations on, particularly in relation to what Greg has characterised as Hall as mediating Marxism.

So first I’ll say a few words on the methodology of theory, and the interface between the social, political, cultural and critical dimensions of theory. I want to look at two examples, starting with the ‘Subcultures, cultures, and class’ chapter, an extract from Resistance through Rituals. What we see in that chapter is an attention to the distinctiveness of youth culture and the cultural aspects of youth. Youth is characterised as emergent within a given social moment and relations; and it is understood as being reflective of a distinction between dominant and subordinate social classes. There’s this sense of youth as subject to hegemony and struggle over cultural power. And subcultures are understood as emergent, and in a certain sense as solutions to problematic social class experience; and as being distinct from, and yet linked to, ‘parent cultures’. And there is that key idea of subcultures as formed through the activities of groups – their rituals, the ways in which they occupy space, their embodied and expressive styles, modes of relations, and so on. In short, what we have here is the foregrounding of social context, of social relations, social interests, social agendas, social processes.

To move on to a different example, let’s look at the excerpt taken from Policing the Crisis, the ‘Black crime, black proletariat’ chapter, which Angela also discussed. And this chapter, for me, is notable in terms of the thoroughgoing discussion that it offers of the debate over the position of the ‘criminal’ classes in relation to labour, largely in terms of the extent to which they might be understood as outside of, and without, class consciousness; it discusses the argument that the lumpenproletariat could possibly constitute a counterrevolutionary force, that they have been incorporated by capitalism; and the issue of the criminalised sector of the social class, as well as how that corresponds to both the waged and the unwaged members of the black labour force. And this question is then used to stage a distinction between, and discuss the relationship between, a sectoral (black and antiracist) struggle perspective, and a social-class (that is, working class, workerist and class conscious) struggle perspective.

What I see here, in terms of the methodology of theory, is Hall undertaking a balancing act, combining commitments to both analytic and practical observation, combining the explanatory and the critical, being prescriptive but also seeking accord and consensus building, if that’s at all possible. And there is a sense also of being cautious of the dangers of reductivism, scientism, historicism, obscurantist idealism but also wary of sense, experiential, impressionism, intuitive speculation – what might be characterised in some quarters as mysticism. So, one of the key things that’s happening in this work is Hall addressing the problem, assuming the challenge, of conceptualisation regarding social description.

I want to say a little something about what I understand to be a humanistic and ethical intervention – and I think sometimes, within debates seeking to understand race, ethnicity, racism, within a Marxist framework, this kind of humanistic and ethical intervention can be overlooked. One of the things that is clear, to me at least, is that Hall’s work is populated by people, by subjects, by actors, so there’s a concern with agents, a concern for their lives, which are impacted by economic, social and cultural forces. While this is not a soft moralism, for me there’s nonetheless an underlying sense of human immiseration and resistance animating Hall’s concerns and works, and as such there’s a humanistic undercurrent and ethical thrust. So, if we think of the ‘Subcultures, cultures, and class’ chapter, there’s this sense of subcultures taking shape through collective activity, and that there are these key areas of education, work, leisure, which give rise to the generational specificity of youth subcultures. So in terms of generational consciousness, a wonderful way in which Hall phrased this is to say that ‘Youth felt, and experienced itself, as different’.

So, there’s this humanistic undercurrent and ethical thrust, and within ‘Black crime, black proletariat’, we have a rehearsal of the significance of Marx’s hierarchy of labour powers but done in relation to black youth, and this discussion is framed within a debate over, on the one hand, their self-activity, and on the other hand, their subjugation. But notably here, black youth are not simply a social category or a process in relation to labour: they are also agents expressing themselves, or having that capacity actively suppressed. It’s this understanding of them as agents, with their own self-activity, or collective activity, that demands attention.

For my last few points, I want to try to draw this together, and it seems to me that there are two key issues here. First is the careful and detailed exposition that Hall offers, that he’s acutely appreciative of authorial context and intent. Second, that there’s a measured and balanced approach, giving disparate positions what we might characterise as a ‘fair hearing’, and I think this is really important, that the theoretical work undertaken by Hall engages in the question of how to conceptualise groups, not as empirical and demographic facts, or as normative and nominalist, but with a regard for formative complexity, and it goes beyond simply being an intellectual ambition, it is something that is achieved through the work. So there’s a constant attention to how groups emerge and exist within given social contexts and relations, and consideration of the impacts of those groups’ individual and collective experiences of those social contexts and relations, as well as how groups respond, and their own individual actions.

And I’m also struck then, lastly, by the issue of debate and tone, and this, I think, is crucial in terms of the point about Hall’s measured and balanced approach, giving disparate positions a fair hearing.

That ‘Black crime, black proletariat’ piece is deeply significant – in that chapter Hall very carefully rehearses the distinction between the Race Today and Black Liberator positions. The Race Today position focused around the refusal to work, while the Black Liberator position focused on the question of the reserve army of labour as super-exploited, as an underclass. But both of these positions are presented fairly. They’re presented in a nuanced and balanced manner, and I think this is an important commitment and undertaking. Angela made the point about the open and generous character of Hall’s work, and its being in a non-didactic formulation that serves as an invitation, and I think that’s a crucial point that I would also want to take away here. That this is something we can reflect on in relation to our own approach – and when I say ‘our’, I mean progressive, leftist political culture, which can be deeply adversarial and antagonistic. To say this isn’t to preclude discussion and debate, but rather to consider the register of our discourse and communication, and I think this is also part of the discourse of mediation that Greg refers to: how Hall’s mediation brings together the analytical, practical and polemical commitments of left politics.

Panel discussion

Gregor: All three speakers have made me think that I haven’t brought out enough that Stuart’s investment in the cultural is not simply an academic, or a cultural studies priority. It is a political project, and I’m wondering if I brought that out enough. After all, one of the chapters in the book is a response to Bob Jessop and colleagues’ arguments about ideologism, which have been more or less repeated in a recent essay by Perry Anderson in New Left Review called ‘Heirs of Gramsci’. In which Hall is 4th on a list of 4, really, in terms of getting all the ticks. Whereas I think what you’ve all brought out, in different ways, that that’s really not right. Hall’s investment in culture is deeply political, including in the way that Brett suggests, in his notion of group life, and humanist self-constitution, which goes beyond class.

That’s why Hall’s not an orthodox Marxist. That these are political cultural forms of bringing things into existence. In my commentary I try to draw attention to Sartre’s idea that part of Marxism, should be, not just respecting, but bringing to light, the profundity of the lived as a political impulse. And Hall had that in bags, and all three colleagues here have brought that out very nicely.

There’s so much to talk about, I just wanted to say about method, which Brett and Angela particularly touched upon. And Angela’s mentioned this before in a very stimulating way in her chapter on Hall, in my view the best book on cultural studies, where she talks about the importance, in general, as well as the importance to Hall, of a certain kind of creative messiness. Not bringing things to a rounded, validity-seeking coherence, but leaving some strands open, partly because who the hell can solve everything in the head? Stuart was very clear that he didn’t, but no-one else can either. So that’s another invitation for everyone reading him to join in the project of keeping debate open.

And I think one self-criticism in the book is when I discuss Hall’s reading of the 1857 introduction, I’m so fascinated by the intellectual and philosophical multiplicity and tensions in it, that I don’t think I actually simply say what a marvellous, creative, ongoing, unfinished thing it is, and it’s great partly because of that. He’s got this marvellous ability to come back at the end and round things off, remind us of what he’s done and what he’s not done. But there is something constitutively open about his thinking. And I think my commentators here have reminded me of a few things, so maybe I didn’t bring that out quite well enough.

Angela: I also wanted to ask you about what I saw as perhaps a slight glossing-over in the text of issues that I remember, or think of, as being formative on Stuart’s work, for example, his debates with Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. I thought – but you seem to disagree – that their book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy was enormously influential on the way that Stuart’s path through neo-Marxism developed – through the chains of equivalence, through alliances, coalitions, through contingency. But you suggest in your notes that Stuart was actually much more influenced by the earlier work of Ernesto and Chantal.

Gregor: Yes, that’s really interesting. When I revisited some of the work, I was surprised by how firmly Stuart says I want the early stuff, and I don’t really want the later stuff so much. Which was not my perception. I thought the later stuff, or the mid-1980s, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy influenced and troubled him quite profoundly, but he seems to just hold the line a bit, in terms of his own recounting of it, rather more firmly than I remember. And of course, we all have our views on these things, and I’ve already included quite a lot of commentary in there, and a few little critical comments of my own. Because you know, the great classics – which Hall now is – should never be simply admired, and left at that. But I couldn’t really go into it too much, because if I did there would be too much of me in the book. But I take your point, and I agree with it as well.

Catherine: I think, Angela, you’re right about the chain of equivalences. Stuart really used that in his analysis in The Fateful Triangle, which of course wasn’t published until much, much, later than the time when the talks were given. It was very important to him in his analysis of how race works. And it’s interesting that these things he wrote were then published decades later – of course one of the reasons that happened was that he never wanted it to be complete, he never thought it was finished, he was always revising. So, Greg, you say when you went back you found that he was clear on this, but on another occasion he might not have been, and he might have said something different about Laclau and Mouffe.

This is part of what all of you are talking about – the openness, the conviction that he would never have finished, that he’d never have it all right, and nobody else would have it all right either. That the whole point is to be engaged in critical dialogue. That’s what’s valuable, that’s what’s important.

I agree with Bruce that the work was about ‘how might we ever win power? – which was always something far off in the future, as it is for us now. But that has to be the question: how are coalitions going to be made, how are alliances going to happen? Once you no longer have any certainty about class, how is that going to change? How is the new common sense to be secured? And I think that’s the question that always underpinned what he was thinking about.

Questions from the audience

In Hall’s work in the 1970s and 1980s, did he fundamentally change his reading of Marx via Gramsci, alongside his reading of race and blackness? And I ask this deliberately to think across this wonderful volume, and the volume on Hall and Race?

Catherine: I’d like to say something on this. One of the points that Paul Gilroy and Ruth Gilmore Wilson make so central to their volume is a refutation of the idea that Stuart wasn’t thinking about race until the 1980s, which of course, is absolutely not true. He was thinking about race from the moment he was born, when he experienced what it was to be in a colonial family, and what it was to be a colonial subject in Jamaica. And he wrote about it in different ways, from that moment onwards, and some of the writing that hasn’t appeared anywhere yet is his writing when was in Oxford. His fiction, his poetry. A lot of it was about race. So, it’s there as part of what he’s thinking about, from the very beginning, and I think it’s very important to know that, and to see how the particular kind of turn to questions of race and ethnicity in the 1980s is, of course, in response to what was happening in Britain, and the politics of race in Britain at the time.

Gregor: I think that’s true, and you can see it in the chapter that others have highlighted, taken from Policing the Crisis, ‘Black crime, black proletariat’. Retrospectively, I was bowled over by the fact that Stuart is not just, as it were, adding a dimension of black politics to an underlying Marxist analysis. He’s transforming the categories themselves, as Brett brought out, in terms of wage labour, wagelessness, and the politics of that. There’s a lot of reasoning going on in that essay that’s giving a different reading of the economic categories, such that it becomes much more culturally open to the politics of race, and the politics of gender. There’s a lot in it on the categories of production and reproduction. And Hall didn’t just make those arguments up on the spot, they must have been with him a long time, and he finally found a way of articulating all those dimensions. It’s just a terrific piece in that regard. But he didn’t then make a big deal of that. He didn’t then say, ‘And by the way, don’t you see what I’m doing, I’m actually transforming, extending, modifying and, in a way, critiquing Marxist economic categories’. Why? Well, because he’s never been a polemicist for the sake of it. He’s keeping all the relevant political audiences together under one space.

Catherine: One of the reasons that Gramsci was so important to Stuart was Gramsci’s analysis of the South, and the way in which that brought up a whole set of different questions about region and regional culture, which then opened up Marxism in a different way, and gave him other kinds of access to thinking with different categories.

Can Brett say a little more about the emotional and relational nature of Hall’s mediating the complexity of a hostile British post-war society?

Brett: I’d like to to say something in relation to that but combine it with another audience question: I’d love to hear a reflection on how Hall might’ve turned to this moment in time, seeing Covid as a conjuncture that might be a point for the left to change the conversations, specifically in terms of neoliberal economics.

One of the things I have been trying to think through in relation to Covid-19 is ethnicity and risk, and this offers us a useful illustrative example of some of the key interventions that are staged in this volume. One of the issues that is really coming out is that we are seeing the central issue of where and how people live and work. Even when we think we’re talking about race – which we are – we’re also talking about how people live, how people labour. A report from the Runnymede Trust, Overexposed and Under-protected: the devastating impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic communities in Great Britain, published in August 2020, details how people from UK black and minority ethnic populations are more likely to work outside of home, to use public transport, to be in key-worker roles, to have poor access to PPE; and to be more likely to live in overcrowded, intergenerational homes, making it harder for them to shield, harder for them to self-isolate. So, in terms of the social conceptualisation of Covid-19, ethnicity and risk, we have seen that ethnicity is a key marker of Covid-19 risk, but it’s not a causal determinant in and of itself.

But at the same time – and this is where it links to the question about the emotional and relational nature of Hall’s writing – it reminds us that when we are thinking about the experience of risk, it is an experience, it is felt by individuals, by groups and by communities. We might consider these risks as embodied, but they also involve multiple factors. And another point here is that the Public Health England report of June 2020, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19, pointed out that black, minority ethnic, people reported low levels of satisfaction with their experiences of healthcare provision.

So, that account of the experiential, and emotional, understanding of risk is as important as the social context within which people live and work. And the bringing together of these different facets of social, individual and collective life comes through in many of the analytical and practical commitments that are staged within the book.

Angela: One of the things that I found interesting in Greg’s commentaries was his reference to Stuart finding Raymond Williams’s concept of ‘structure of feeling’ unsatisfactory, perhaps because of wanting to get the balance right between structuralism and culturalism. I wondered about that – in the light, for example, of feminist theories of affect, and the attention given to emotion within more recent cultural studies, as in the work of the late Lauren Berlant. So I wondered, Brett, if there was more that you would like to say about feeling and emotion in Stuart’s Marxism?

Brett: In some debates emotion and feeling are seen as something that is incompatible with theory, as irrelevant. But thinking back to those responses from interviewees in the Public Health England report – these are people’s stories, they are accounts of experiences. They aren’t simply woolly and intuitive impressions. And these experiences have an impact on the decisions people make in relation to how they access healthcare, and how they treat public health advice. That’s what’s important, and that’s why there’s an ethical aspect here, insofar as it’s not the story, or the narrative, in itself, that is significant or meaningful; it’s its political and social reference. It is not a question of wanting to validate any kind of intuitive, sense-experience commentary. Something outside of the experience, outside of the account, has to have some kind of political and social relevance.

Gregor: Angela and Brett are right that Stuart does later move away from an Althusserian dismissal of experience as a dubious, empiricist, resort, compared with the higher realms of correct theory, etc. But then, later on again, his critique of Williams takes a slightly different turn. If experience is seen as a holistic thing – if people are ‘Bespeaking’ their worlds, where the worlds seem to have a kind of precious and perhaps even inviolable meaning-making status – then that is something we’ve got to be careful about. There’s an aspect of Williams’s resort to ‘structure of feeling’ that Stuart later sees as validating a rather narrow, parochial fight – British or Welsh culture. So, either way, you can’t go all the way with affect, because of the dangers of a purely self-reaffirming notion of one’s identity.

And yet, of course, you’re entirely right, Brett, Stuart’s humanistic sensibility, and his sense of what Sartre called ‘the profundity of the lived’, meant that he never bought into a hard-nosed Marxism of the ‘if it’s not class experience, what use is it?’ kind. He has to be sensitive to the power and the potential of transformative agency, which if it lacks an affect dimension, goes nowhere.

An essential question for Marxism in the twenty-first century has been how to reconcile the question of ecology with the ongoing struggle for social and political emancipation. A pivotal moment in Stuart’s own political engagement was an engagement with an environmental movement, namely, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. How can we use Stuart’s thought for theorising the current eco-social impasse?

Catherine: I would immediately recommend a book by Mark Harvey that’s coming out at the end of next month, which is on the climate emergency and which is absolutely about the relation between the social, the ecological and the climate. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was certainly a huge commitment of Stuart’s, for many years. And he kept me waiting for many hours while he attended long, and difficult, and dialogic, meetings of the committee of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. And it was a critical moment of politicisation for many people of my generation certainly. But that doesn’t really speak to this moment. Can any of you comment on that?

Angela: I would suggest that we can fruitfully re-read Stuart’s work from the viewpoint of the politics of contemporary protests and activism, and his attention to the intersections and alliances that emerge across different social movements, in ways that can be contingent, but can also be expansive. We’re living in an incredibly interesting moment of new and diverse forums of struggle and activism, including, for example, the new feminist politics from the global south, which has had very different perspectives on issues such as violence against women, femicide and neoliberalism from those, say, of traditional feminists in the global north. I think Stuart would absolutely be interested in that. We’re all the time learning from diverse and different experiences, from across the globe. And obviously the climate movement is one of the best examples of that.

Bruce: The environmental question is a really good one to raise at this point, because it’s the point that all the movements feel they have to be committed to, and this is a movement where different movements are exploring their commitments to other movements. I have been very moved for example by the way Black Lives Matter in the US came out very strongly in favour of Palestinians. I don’t think that ever would have happened in the same way before. In a sense, it’s a very Stuart Hall moment, because the movements are communicating with each other, and passionately so, in ways that he must be smiling upon as he looks down from the heaven we don’t believe in.

Gregor: I think something to hang onto is that, if Hall had a complex Marxism back in the 1970s, it would have been bound to have been even more super-complex today, when what we’ve called the zones of mediation between Marxism and non-Marxism, different angles of politically important things, have become compounded. And his underlying, very simple message is, in some way or another, that these things are all connected, and we should never give up the integrative pluralism of political thinking. The great danger is fragmented pluralism, where the politics of difference, wherever the differences are, leads to political de-alignment, rather than to what Angela’s called coalitional unity. No matter how complex the world got – and perhaps, like most of us, he didn’t feel that he had the answer to it – the project of integrative, progressive pluralism would, I think, be one his fundamental emphases.

Catherine: I think that seems a really good thought to end on. It refers back to different aspects of what all of you have said, very helpfully. And that sense of the connections that make up the whole – we don’t understand it in a simple way, it’s extremely complex, but the struggle to try and make the connections between one arena and another, one side and another, one movement and another, has to be the political project for all of us.

About the Speakers

Catherine Hall is Emerita Professor of History and Chair of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery, University College London. She has published extensively on questions of race, gender and empire. She is co-editor (with Bill Schwarz) of the Duke University Press series of specialist collections of Stuart Hall’s work.

Gregor McLennan is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol. He was a graduate student in the 1970s at the Centre of Contemporary Studies in Birmingham, and was a close colleague of Stuart’s at the Open University through the 1980s and early 1990s. He is the author of several books on Marxism, pluralism and social theory, and is editor of the Selected Writings of Stuart Hall on Marxism.

Bruce Robbins is Old Dominion Foundation Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University, and he previously taught at the universities of Geneva, Lausanne and Rutgers. His most recent books are The Beneficiary, published by Duke, and Cosmopolitanism, co-edited with Paulo Horta. He’s also the director of two documentaries, Some of My Best Friends are Zionists and What Kind of Jew is Shlomo Sand?.

Angela McRobbie is professor of cultural studies at Coventry University and a emeritus professor at Goldsmiths University of London. She studied, as Greg did, at the Birmingham Centre in the mid-1970s, and her research on girls’ magazines was widely seen as path breaking. Her most recent books include, Be Creative: Making a

Living in the New Cultural Industries, and Feminism and the Politics of Resilience.

Brett St Louis is senior lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, having previously been lecturer in sociology at Bristol University and assistant professor in ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of C.L.R. James’ Critique of Modernity: Race, Politics and Poetics (2007) and is currently completing a book on racial eliminativism that develops a critical genealogy and analysis of post-racial thought.

Notes

  1. Stuart Hall, Selected Writings on Marxism, edited by Greg McLennan, Duke University Press 2021: open access introduction by Gregor McLennan.
  2. The series also includes: Cultural Studies 1983, edited by Lawrence Grossberg and Jennifer Slack (2016); Selected Political Writings, copublication with Lawrence & Wishart (2017); Essential Essays (two-volume set) (2018), edited by David Morley; Selected Writings on Race and Difference (2021), edited by Paul Gilroy and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Writings on Media (2021), edited by Charlotte Brunsdon.
  3. For more on Gramsci’s conception of intellectuals, including organic intellectuals, see David Forgacs (ed), The Antonio Gramsci Reader, L&W 1988, pp300-301.
  4. Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, ed and trans Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, L&W 1971, pp5-6.
  5. In chapter 9, ‘In Defence of Theory’.
  6. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, Verso 1985, re-issued 2013.
  7. Stuart Hall, The Fateful Triangle, Race Ethnicity, Nation, edited by Kobena Mercer, Harvard University Press 2017.
  8. See note 2 for details.
  9. Mark Harvey, Climate Emergency. How societies create the crisis, Emerald Bingley 2021.

Land both contributes and is affected by climate change. It is the frontlines of the climate crisis where livelihoods, resources and inherited knowledge are fought for against industrial extraction, the militarism of imperial ventures, and colonialism’s erasure of indigenous epistemologies. This conversation asks how land is central to efforts to both deepen and circumvent the crisis?

For this #ReconstructionWork event the Stuart Hall Foundation welcomes three leading climate activists: Abeer M. Butmeh , Dr Hamza Hamouchene and Sam Siva to share their experiences, imaginings and reflections around land and the climate crisis.

Part of our Contextualising Climate Crisis series and our #ReconstructionWork online conversation series.

Supported by Arts Council England