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2014-08-20 00:24:29 (UTC)

Stuart Hall: Some Thoughts on His Life


Part 1:

Stuart Hall died nearly 9 months ago as I update this initial prose-poem. He died on 10/2/'14. Life is busy even in retirement and I did not become aware of Hall's death, or aware of even a very general picture and overview of his life until I came across his obituary as I was surfing about in cyberspace through the content of a series of electronic journals that have been part of the bread and butter of my reading since taking an early retirement after a 50 year student-and-employment life, 1949 to 1999.

The high point in the career of Stuart Hall(1932-2014) was in 1959 when he was appointed founding editor of the new left movement's flagship journal, The New Left Review. Hall helped organize this 'new left' as a cultural, intellectual and political movement. He was a Jamaican-born cultural theorist and sociologist.

Part 2:

Hall, along with Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies or The Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. I have taken an interest in Stuart Hall because he was one of the leaders in some of the non-traditional forms of cultural studies along with the historian Eric Hobsbawm. Cultural studies have been on my agenda, in one way or another, since the 1960s. In 1959 I was only 15, in grade 10, totally absorbed in sport, family and school. I had just joined the Baha'i Faith and I knew nothing of Stuart Hall or the new left.

Part 3:

In 1962, when I began my travels for the Canadian Baha'i community, Stuart Hall had become the leader of a loose collaborative grouping that came to be called British cultural studies. Stuart Hall's place in the history of the academic humanities is secure. Who else has played so substantive a role in establishing what has become a global discipline or, at any rate, a post-discipline? He was a great & fine person. Much of his work invites ongoing engagement if not agreement.

In 1979 he became professor of sociology at the Open University, attracted by the possibility of reaching out to those who had fallen through the conventional educational system. He remained there until 1998,later becoming emeritus professor & launching a series of courses in communications and sociology. Increasingly, he focused on questions of race and post-colonialism, and on theorising the migrant view of Britain that he had always cherished.-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 10/7/'14.

Part 4:

I never really got to know you,
Stuart, just so busy with endless
hours of teaching, of talking and
listening, of going to meetings, of
raising three kids and dealing with
the demands of marital life, of my
health, of settling into a new town,
new job, always something, Stuart!

Now that I am retired from that life
of demands, 1949 to 1999, and the
reinvention of myself as a writer
and author, poet and publisher,
online blogger and journalist, I
have been given a new lease on life,
and was able to find out about you.

Yours was quite a story, Stuart;
you certainly helped to launch a
field which I now dip into during
these years of my retirement; it's
a kind of linking-pin for me in the
vast field of the social sciences &
the humanities, and it will help to
keep me busy until the last syllable
of my recorded time on this planetized,
new, global civilization bursting-out.

Ron Price
19/7/'14 to 25/10/'14.