Stuart Hall's Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity
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.
A Listening Self: Voice and the Ethos of Style
This letter is concerned with style and the ethos of voice in Stuart Hall’s intellectual presence. With Hall, it urges, it made little sense to separate the content of his substantive thought from the style of his process of thinking. Style comprehended a central part of the very ethos of intelligibility of his thinking. And this style was, above all, disclosed in the dimensions of his voice, in the resonant sound of his speaking, but also in his thinking and writing. In Hall speaking was a mode of thinking; and his writing had an audible character. Part of the larger project of the chapter is to explore the measure in which, as opposed to sight and its ocularcentric metaphors of rationality, attention to voice (in the modes of hearing and speaking) allows a more situated and dialogical approach to thinking and being. Moreover, this letter urges, considerations of voice encourage attention to the virtues of listening as an attitude of reciprocal learning.