Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall: Hegemony, Culture, and Politics

Instructor: Adam Elliott-Cooper
This is an online course (Eastern Time)

Immigrant, academic, and activist, Stuart Hall theorized and developed some of the most crucial conceptual tools for understanding the 20th century. Urging socialists and anti-imperialists to think and work outside the shadow of the Soviet Union, Hall shined a light on the cultures emerging from youth, migrant, and urban class struggle. He coined the term ‘Thatcherism,’ foreseeing her election as a revolution that would go beyond the economic. His work on crisis, crime, and authoritarian populism in the 1970s helps us comprehend how racism and nationalism are used to help save capitalism from itself. Yet, despite being one of the most important Black British intellectuals of the 20th century, Hall never wrote a book alone, always thinking and writing as part of collectives. How does Hall provide a framework for learning together to make sense of a world in which neoliberalism, nationalism, and crisis are in need of the cultures of resistance he identified, more than ever?

In this course, we will read and explore Hall’s major works, themes, and concepts, alongside those of his influences and collaborators. We’ll begin by placing Hall in conversation with Antonio Gramsci and Raymond Williams, thinkers who help contextualize Hall’s writing on the New Left, cultural studies, and hegemony. Next, we’ll read Hall’s work on nationalism, policing, and postcolonialism alongside those he influenced, including Hazel Carby and Sivamohan Valluvan, whose work on Empire and its legacies offers the tools to make sense of 21st century racisms and cultures of resistance. We’ll explore the emerging New Left campaigns which helped shape cultural studies into a discipline which looks for a radical reimagining of the world, and grapple with the rise of neoliberalism as a cultural and political, as well as economic phenomena. We’ll read Hall’s work on racist ‘moral panics’—from the mugger of 1970s Britain to the 21st-century specter of the terrorist, gangster, and illegal immigrant. Finally, we’ll turn to Hall’s biography as a colonial subject turned postcolonial citizen, as we untangle the complexities of racial hierarchy in the crumbling centers of British empire. Throughout, we will ask: how can we understand the role and power of culture beyond simple economism? How do race and class interact as intersections of identity and oppression? How do nationalism and racism undergird capitalism? What might it mean to resist?

Course Schedule

Sunday, 2:00-5:00pm ET
March 10 — March 31, 2024
4 weeks


Registration Closed

Please email us to be placed on the waiting list.

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