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March 7, 2017

The Documentary (EP. 8)

Stuart Hall

By: Rebecca McInroy

Stuart Hall: In Conversations revisits the life and work of the Jamaican-born cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, a key figure in the foundation of the field of Cultural Studies. Through interviews, music, and audio archives, this program examines the political and historical context that shaped Stuart Hall’s ideas.

From the 1950s until his death in 2014, Hall was a world renowned black public intellectual, known for his role in establishing the New Left in Britain, his groundbreaking analyses of Thatcherism, and his dialogical understanding of culture and representation.

Hall saw politics in a range of human formations, from the mundane and everyday to the global expansion of free market capitalism.He argued that culture should be understood both as a site for the reproduction of dominant ideologies as well as a location for resisting power and claiming new identities.

Stuart Hall’s visionary understandings of neoliberalism and what he called “authoritarian populism” are worth revisiting today in an era of racially charged nationalism, evidenced in the 2016 Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, Marine Le Pen’s rise in popularity in France, and the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.

February 14, 2017

Stuart Hall Live (Ep. 7)

Stuart Hall

By: Rebecca McInroy

Listen back to our Views and Brews discussion from December 13, 2016 with KUT’s Rebecca McInroy, along with sociologist Ben Carrington, art historian Cherise Smith, and journalist Steven Thrasher of The Guardian.
They talk about the life and legacy of Stuart Hall and take audience questions.
Who was Stuart Hall? What can his ideas teach us about populist politics, the importance of the visual arts, and the role of the media in our current social and political moment?

January 30, 2017

Roderick Ferguson (Ep. 6)

Stuart Hall

By: Rebecca McInroy

In this interview, Ben Carrington, Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, interviews Roderick Ferguson, Professor of African American and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, about his relationship to the work of Stuart Hall.

In the words of Ferguson, he was introduced to Stuart and Catherine Hall when he was 22 under the advisement of George Lipsitz at UC San Diego. During this meeting, Ferguson was struck by Hall’s openness to what cultural studies could be; that Hall was not a patriarch “trying to lay down the law and determine the discipline” but was instead able to separate his ego from doing his scholarly work.

Ferguson’s commitment to treat culture as something important to study – in relation to both race and capital – was something that Hall’s work inspired him to do despite the lack of reception that this kind of work had within the field of American sociology.

That the discipline is painfully far removed from the influence of Stuart Hall was evidenced for Ferguson by his failure to be accepted to the annual American Sociological Association meeting with a panel that was intended to honor Stuart Hall.

This rejection speaks not just about the relationship between American sociology and the work of Hall, but also about the discipline’s marginalization of scholars of color more generally. The loss for sociology in not incorporating the influence of Hall is that the discipline is practiced as “one-dimensional sociology” where neither culture nor race are given the attention they deserve.

While Hall understood all analytical categories to be complex and historically contingent, Ferguson argues that American sociology focuses on an illusion of one-dimensional objectivity at the expense of having real political stakes.

Ferguson pays gratitude to Hall by claiming that his book, The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (2012) would not have been possible without Hall’s influence.