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.
Learning to Learn from Others: An Ethics of Receptive Generosity
This letter is concerned to disclose the implicit ethics that shapes the dialogical style of Stuart Hall’s intellectual work. For this purpose, the letter draws on the work of Romand Coles, and in particular his idea of “receptive generosity.” Critical of Christian and Kantian conceptions of generosity, a receptive generosity is understood as a mode of generosity that is motivated as much by giving to others as by receiving from them. Indeed, receiving from others is morally and existentially harder, but also perhaps more important, than giving to them. In contrast to Coles’s direction, the letter urges that Alasdair MacIntyre’s conception of a “tradition” might offer resources for widening and deepening our ability to learn to better and more fruitfully learn from others. Stuart Hall’s ethics has something to teach us about such learning, inasmuch as it oriented his way of living in dialogue with others.