Stuart Hall (1932-2014): A Tribute


We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Stuart Hall. The National Gallery of Jamaica’s chief curator, Charles Campbell, wrote an elegant tribute that highlights the thinker’s work and legacy. As Campbell underlines, Hall’s legacy lives on through the work of the many thinkers, writers, artists and academics. Here is the complete tribute with a link to the original below:

Jamaican born sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall died today at the age of 82. A leading intellectual and one of the founders of Cultural Studies in Britain, Hall was part of the so called Windrush generation that moved from Jamaica to England after the Second World War.

Hall is one of the most influential thinkers of his generation. The impact of his work has been felt across academic disciplines and filtered into popular discourse through both his writing and regular appearances on British television and radio. Known for his work on race, gender, identity and sexuality he also made significant contributions to the examination of the visual arts with specific regard for the work of Black British and Caribbean artists.

Hall presented a nuanced understanding of culture as something constantly in formation, always changing and never static. While pushing against essentializing black subjectivity he never shied away from acknowledging how race and ethnicity often set the context in which an artwork was viewed and determined its readings. He was also an advocated of a strong critical discourse, one that looked both at the context of the work being produced and the works own merits.

In his writings on art he sought to undo the binary structure of centre and periphery, showing “Modernity and its ‘Others’” to be closely intertwined. He was fascinated by the complexity of the visual image and the many ways in which they could be read and supported the notion of images that interrogated their viewer, asking questions and giving information but perhaps not answers.

Hall’s legacy lives on through the work of the many thinkers, writers, artists and academics he influenced. As per the name of John Akomfrahs biographic video installation about Stuart Hall, his life was an unfinished conversation.

[Photo above: Stuart Hall in 1958 (from John Akomfrah’s The Unfinished Conversation, 2012)]

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3 thoughts on “Stuart Hall (1932-2014): A Tribute

  1. TOne of the greatest in Cultural Studies. He ewas awesome in his amalysis and demytsifying of poular colur tackling its perceived periodisation.But importantly he he opoen our eyes to subculture and the meanings especialy from its symbols and attire.


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