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
Responsiveness to the Present: Thinking through Contingency
This letter is concerned with the sense in which Stuart Hall was consummately oriented toward a responsiveness to the present rather than to abstract theoretical issues. It aims to show the role of “contingency” in his thinking and acting, especially its relation to his idea of a “conjuncture.” The idea of contingency, it is suggested, is especially fruitful to think with because it brings into view the idea of “intervention” as Hall’s signature style of intellectual action, and therefore also the role of the “essay” (as opposed to the monograph) as his signature writing form. The essay is the nonfictive...