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Ear to the Ground

The ‘Godfather of Multiculturalism’ Is Dead

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Posted on Feb 10, 2014

    Stuart Hall reads the Caribbean Review of Books while sitting next to his wife Catherine on a Jamaican beach in June 2004. nicholaslaughlin (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall, a British intellectual who had a huge influence on academic, political and cultural debates over six decades, died Monday at age 82.

The Guardian reports:

Jamaican-born Hall was professor of sociology at the Open University from 1979 to 1997, topping off an academic career that began as a research fellow in Britain’s first centre for cultural studies, set up by Richard Hoggart at the University of Birmingham in 1964. Hall would later lead the centre and was seen as a key figure in the development of cultural studies as an academic discipline.

… In one of Hall’s last interviews, with the Guardian two years ago, he expressed pessimism about politics generally and the Labour party specifically. “The left is in trouble. It has not got any ideas, it has not got any independent analysis of its own, and therefore it has got no vision. It just takes the temperature: ‘Whoa, that’s no good, let’s move to the right.’ It has no sense of politics being educative, of politics changing the way people see things.”

Hall received a traditional “English” schooling in Jamaica before winning a scholarship to Oxford University in 1951. He took a degree in English but later abandoned a PhD on Henry James to concentrate on politics, setting up the Influential New Left Review journal with the leftwing academics Raymond Williams and EP Thompson.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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