Stuart Hall

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Outline: In this essay I will try to present the ways in which Stuart Hall influenced the development of Cultural Studies in Britain and illuminate the importance of his contribution to the understanding of British culture in general. As “one of the leading cultural theorists”, an epithet given to him by The Observer in 2007, he expanded the field of study to include gender, race and identity. He is also important for introducing new approaches to the study based on the works of French theorists. Introduction Stuart Hall was born in Kingston, Jamaica on February 3, 1932. After receiving a Rhodes scholarship in the 1950 he came to Britain in order to study at Merton College at the University of Oxford. He was a member of the Windrush generation, when a great number of African-Caribbeans migrated to the UK and other parts of Europe in the search of a better future. It is interesting to note that he was part of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in 1957. The publication of his book “The Popular Arts” (Hall and Whannel 1967; first published in Britain in 1964) ten years later led to the invitation by Richard Hoggart, another important figure in the founding of British Cultural Studies, to join the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. In 1968 he replaced Hoggart as the director of the institution and held the position until 1979. The BCCCS might be considered the cradle of cultural studies in Britain and some might even say that is the pivotal institution in the history of cultural studies in general. After leaving his position at the Centre, Hall became a professor at the Open University. He retired in 1997. Throughout his career, Hall stressed the practical impact that cultural studies can have on... ... middle of paper ... ...’s work has been crucial for both the process of formation and the expansion and development of British Cultural Studies, as well as cultural studies as an international discipline. Due to the fact that Hall was born in Jamaica but practiced his career in Britain, he is able to present views both from inside and outside the British society. As much as he participated in contributing to the studies dealing with ethnicity, he also contributed to the study of national identity. The impact of his work expands the circle of cultural studies; during the 1980s he was a fierce critic of Thatcherism and influenced the Labour Party in Britain. The dedication he put in his work, together with the innovation and diversity of his studies have earned him the epithet “The Father of Cultural Studies”, a title most certainly deserved for redefining British cultural studies.
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