David Scott is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of a number of books, including Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice and Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment, and is the editor of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, all also published by Duke University Press.
Apology: On Intellectual Friendship
This is the introductory letter that serves as a general orientation to the intellectual project of the book as a whole. It makes the case for an epistolary way of continuing an intellectual relationship with Stuart Hall in the wake of his passing. The letter-form, it argues, is one way of evading the pitfalls of “critique” while constructing a discerning relationship with the thinking of others. Most important, the epistolary form enables us to give intellectual friendship its due. Intellectual friendship, it is maintained, does not presume a convergence of views, agreement, but rather reciprocally shelters differences. What intellectual friendship aims at is the hermeneutic attitude of clarification.