THEA, the joint research group of ULB, VUB and RITCS School of Arts, and the Master program of Cultural Studies (Faculty of Arts, KU Leuven) organizes, from 2015 a cycle of academic events about Stuart Hall, a ‘Stuart Hall track’. The first of these events will take place on December 15, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the cinema of RITCS, Antoine Dansaertstraat 70, Brussels. Our first guest will be documentary film maker Mike Dibb, who made Personally Speaking: A Long Conversation with Stuart Hall (2009). Mike Dibb selected one hour of fragments from this 4-hour movie, this selection will be screened and followed by a panel discussion with Filip De Boeck (KU Leuven) (t.b.c.), Anneleen Masschelein (KU Leuven) and Klaas Tindemans (VUB & RITCS).
Cultural sociologist Stuart Hall (1932-2014) was probably the most influential theorist of the ‘Birmingham School of Cultural Studies’, founded by Richard Hoggart, with Raymond Williams one of his primary sources of intellectual inspiration. Both Williams and Hoggart were professors of literature, who used elements of literary scholarship in their study of culture as a broad, social concept. Stuart Hall and his colleagues did research and published about youth (sub)cultures, framing processes in the media, the handling of the of ‘crisis’, both as a phenomenon and as a concept, the political culture of ‘new ethnicities’. Since then, the idea of ‘cultural studies’ as a new and relevant paradigm has got firm ground. Hall’s research peels the layers from supposedly ‘superficial’ societal and cultural phenomena – the construction of consensus on law-and-order, but also the popularity of a homegrown ‘black’ cinema in the United Kingdom – to reveal the way the modern state succeeds (or fails) to embody and to impose hegemonic power structures. The profound transformation of British society, in the aftermath of decolonization and subsequent immigration, and during the era of Thatcherism, followed by New Labour, is the red thread in Hall’s scholarship and in his presence as one of the last ‘public intellectuals’. Hall combined political outspokenness, profound social-scientific thinking and clear speech.