Stuart Hall [1932-2014]

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Recent obituaries for the late doyen of cultural studies, who also greatly influenced material culture studies, Professor Stuart Hall, have appeared in the Jamaica Observer and the Guardian.

A founding member of the New Left Review, Professor Hall is probably best known in the UK as an inaugural member of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University when, in 1964, he accepted the invitation of its Director Professor Richard Hoggart to join as the Centre’s first research fellow. Hall himself became Director of CCCS a few years later in 1968.

Born in Kingston Jamaica, Hall fled for the UK in 1951 to take up a Rhodes scholars fellowship at Merton College, University of Oxford. He famously abandoned his thesis on Henry James to become an activist in London and during a CND march in 1964, met what would become his life long partner, historian Catherine Barrett. The couple moved to Birmingham and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

CCCS itself had a limited lifespan, being closed down more than a decade ago in 2002. But the students and spirit of cultural studies have lived on to prosper beyond the wildest expectations of its founding intellectual ‘radicals’. This year, a 50th anniversary project in the History Dept. at Birmingham University, funded by the AHRC, celebrates the various legacies of CCCS.

 

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