Stuart Hall (1932–2014) is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost cultural theorists and public intellectuals of the late twentieth century. Though circulated, read, and taught for decades, Hall’s seminal essays are widely dispersed, with many pieces out of print or difficult to find. A new Duke University Press book series Stuart Hall: Selected Writings brings together Hall’s well-known works with previously unpublished ones to create a portrait of his wide-ranging intellectual and political investments. The series will include the North American edition of Hall’s memoir, Displacements: Lives and Ideas in Two Black Diasporas.
The editors of the series are Stuart Hall’s widow Catherine Hall, of University College, London; and Bill Schwarz of Queen Mary, University of London. As the literary executors of Stuart Hall’s estate, they have engaged many of Hall’s students and colleagues—often major figures in themselves— to produce the series volumes.
“Stuart Hall was one of the most gifted, intellectually alert and adventurous intellectuals in the English-speaking world of the last half century,” said Bill Schwarz. “He was a remarkable cultural and social theorist who remained steadfastly ‘worldly’, always endeavoring to match his own thinking with the pace of the histories in which he found himself situated. A teacher of renown, he could hold large audiences spellbound, his eyes flashing with life and invariably, too, with a winning, inviting laughter. He combined human generosity with an incomparable largeness of vision.”
Duke University Press Editorial Director Ken Wissoker said, “For me, Stuart Hall was always the consummate politically-engaged intellectual. His method has been at the foundation of our list for many years, but his own work has been notably hard to find—he himself never stopped thinking and he did not want readers to take his situated analyses as timeless texts.”
The volumes in the series, which include Hall’s memoir, are edited by major scholars and organized thematically, covering topics ranging from race, photography, and Marxism to the Caribbean, popular culture, and British politics. The first book to be published, in October 2016, will be Cultural Studies 1983, eight lectures delivered by Stuart Hall in 1983 at the University of Illinois introduced North American audiences to the intellectual history of British cultural studies. Hall’s memoir Displacements will follow in the spring of 2017 and additional thematic volumes will be published over the next several years.
Tufts University scholar Lisa Lowe said of the importance of the series, “Stuart Hall was an unparalleled theorist of racial colonial capitalism in late modernity, who analyzed the range of phenomena that issues from these conditions. He was an amazing reader of ideology, institutions, and hegemony, as well as popular and visual culture—he defined the ‘culture’ of ‘cultural studies’ as a material force and site of articulation, as no one else has. Any of us who study or teach racial colonialism and its aftermath owe an enormous debt to Hall. The ongoing importance, brilliance, and necessity of his life work is simply undeniable.”
With this series, Duke University Press is the official home for the writings of Stuart Hall. “It’s an immense honor — a dream really—to be able to organize, collect and publish his work, especially at this moment, where its necessity could not be greater,” said Wissoker.
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