A Stuart Hall-shaped hole in the universe…

Stuart Hall, North Coast, Jamaica

Stuart Hall, North Coast, Jamaica

When I saw Stuart at his home in London on December 14, 2013, I knew he wouldn’t last much longer. He had been ill for years and his health had deteriorated considerably since the previous year when we celebrated his 80th birthday at Rivington Place, the art centre born of his inspiration and hard work. All the same his departure comes as a blow. It’s too early for me to come to terms with this loss, for Stuart has been a close friend and mentor since 1996 when he came to the University of the West Indies to speak at the Rex Nettleford Conference.

For what it’s worth I publish a few photos taken over the years along with a substantive interview I did with Stuart in 2004. Stuart Hall was such an extraordinary thinker that his work ranged over a broad field of interests including visual art which was the one thing we truly bonded over. It was a preoccupation that didn’t get much coverage in other interviews which tend to focus more on his activism, his Marxism, and his political interventions. Here’s a link also to the post I wrote on the John Akomfrah film about him, a must see, which I hope will be shown on Jamaican TV soon.

Stuart when I first met him in 1996.

Stuart when I first met him in 1996.

David Scott and Stuart Hall, 1996

David Scott (editor, Small Axe) and Stuart Hall, 1996

Stuart Hall outside Rivington Place, under construction.

Stuart Hall outside Rivington Place, under construction.

stuartaggreyhse

1998

Stuart Hall at Aggrey Brown's home

Stuart Hall at Aggrey Brown’s home, Golden Spring, Jamaica, 1998

Stuart Hall at Good Hope Estate, Trelawny, Jamaica, 2004

Stuart Hall at Good Hope Estate, Trelawny, Jamaica, 2004

Stuart Hall (R) reading a copy of The Caribbean Review of Books at at Hellshire Beach, Jamaica; June 2004.  Photo by Annie Paul.

Stuart Hall (R) and Catherine Hall reading a copy of The Caribbean Review of Books at Hellshire Beach, Jamaica; June 2004

with Stuart Hall at a bar in Edgeware, London

with Stuart Hall at a bar on Edgeware Road, London, 2008. Photo by Dilia Montes-Richardson

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Photo by Dilia Montes-Richardson

and one of my treasures–a letter Stuart wrote to the Librarian at Birmingham U so that I could gain access to their inner sanctum:

birminghamletter

14 thoughts on “A Stuart Hall-shaped hole in the universe…

  1. Annie, thank you for sharing the wonderful photos of Stuart. Seeing them helps a lot in dealing with the shock and sadness of Stuart’s passing. He has gone to meet the ancestors who have prepared a final home for him. He was the best and bravest of us. And thank you again for your remembrance.

  2. Nice work Annie and he always affirmed the Caribbean Radical Tradition and besides his own intellectual work was always so generous to the following generation of scholars. His reading of one of my essays and critical comments during his visit to Binghamton marked a turning point in my own work as did meeting Sylvia Wynter. We must keep a commitment to maintaining the spirit, politics and meaning of his life work,

    • Mention not Hugh, yes, I found it comforting to look at them yesterday and remember him the way he was before ill health messed him up totally…You all have a history dating back to your student days in England right?

  3. Annie, you too are an “interventionist.” Thanks for posting these beautiful pictures, and also for embedding your interview with Stuart Hall; it reminds us of his clarity of thought and the range of his brilliance.

  4. Annie, until I read your blog, I felt so isolated in the grief I feel over his immeasurable loss.
    I have known Stuart for 30 years and like you, his work and way of interacting with me and everyone marked the single most important shift in my intellectual and political life.

    Thank you for this.

    Leslie Roman, UBC in Canada

    • thanks Leslie for leaving this comment, he was such a great spirit, glad to meet you through him. I wavered over whether to put up these photos or not, over whether ppl would think it was opportunistic showing off, but responses like yours, and there’ve been many, make me glad i decided to do so.

    • Max, hi, I will send you a tribute based on my 30 years of friendship with Stuart as my professor, mentor, and benchmark for public intellectual work, rigorous scholarship with no easy answers but always with a mind for re-articulating the left through new and diverse publics.

      I too have a photo of him at the interview with Jesse Jackson for Marxism Today, at which I was present along with historian, Dennis Dworkin. We were both graduate students at the time –me at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dennis that the University of Chicago. Dennis Dworkin, Dennis took the photos some of which are now published in Marxism Today and some which we have somewhere, which were not. I will get these to you to serve as part of public memory.

      We also went to Bishop Tutu’s “arrival” and rousing anti-Aparheid speech at the Liberty American Baptist Church after it had been moved based on the refusal of the University of Chicago to support disinvestment in South Africa. Stuart, Dennis and I were together sharing the growing anger by the post-Civil Rights African American and Left American insistence that South Africa get on board with the ANC.

      His fluid movement from sites of scholarship, publics and activism reshaped many intellectual’s work not only in Britain but also in US., Australia, Jamaica (of course) and elsewhere globally.

      The greatest tribute we can pay is constitute and reconstitute progressive diverse publics in his honor.

      Leslie Roman,
      Professor, Educational Studies,
      UBC Canada.

      • Hi Leslie – Yes, please send it to me – I’d love our little website to become a part of the resource for what you rightly say is needed: concerted efforts to debate and develop Stuart’s many intellectual contributions, and his very particular way of conducting himself politically. I was in a tiny libertarian/marxist group in the UK called Big Flame and we were pretty critical of Marxism Today, but I now see it (and Stuart) as making a last-ditch search for a response to Thatcherism/the onward march of neo-liberalism. Stuart of course never publicly aligned himself with that wing of the Communist Party, or with any of the rest of us on the far left, and I now have a greater understanding of why he refused to do so. All of this – the intellectual, the personal and the political – needs continuous re-examination, as do the specifics of the 21st century left response to neo-liberal hegemony. My email is maximfarrar@gmail.com and I’d love to have your tribute and any photos to insert into the Taking Soundings site.
        all the best
        max http://www.maxfarrar.org.uk (which includes Stuart’s characteristically generous response to my PhD/book)

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