'This is the most lucid and engaged account of Stuart Hall's work. Meticulously, and with an exemplary generosity, Helen Davis patiently unravels the threads of Hall's intellectual history. The result is a most useful and thoughtful book, which could prove to be indispensable for students of cultural studies' - Graeme Turner, University of Queensland Understanding Stuart Hall traces the development of one of the most influential and respected figures within cultural studies. Focusing on Stuart Hall's writings over a period of nearly fifty years, this volume offers students and academics a cogent and exploratory route through complex and overlapping areas of analysis. In her critical assessment of Hall's most important contributions to academic and public debate, Davis shows the extent to which his analyses of race and ethnicity have been informed by early studies of Marxism, class and 'societies structured in dominance'. Davis offers fresh insight into the formation of one of the most prolific, charismatic and controversial intellectuals of his generation. Despite having been branded a 'cultural pessimist', Stuart Hall has long been associated with encouraging new, cutting-edge scholarship within the field. This volume concludes with a discussion of Hall's most recent political and academic interventions and his continuing commitment to innovation within the visual arts.



Stuart Hall's name has become synonymous with cultural studies, but his contribution to public life has been more than academic. He is a scholar and an intellectual, a critic and a teacher. But this still does not bring us any closer to understanding the full scale of his involvement with British culture over the last 50 years.

The historian Eric Hobsbawm recalls meeting Hall in the early 1950s and being rather impressed by the young Oxford radical. Martin Jacques once described Hall as ‘one of the finest orators on the left, or anywhere, a cross between Jesse Jackson and the best academic you ever heard.’ (Jacques, 1997: 26) Outspoken, controversial and fiercely independent, Hall has been celebrated and vilified by critics at both ends of ...

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