Beginning with the title itself, Stuart Hall’s Familiar Stranger: A Life between Two Islands offers not merely a meditation on the cultural logic of dislocation but also a carefully articulated defense of that dislocation as a powerful antidote to the ugly and repressive forces of cultural and national identity. The emphasis here is on the space of the between: what it means to truly belong neither here nor there (Jamaica and England in Hall’s case), and how what might threaten to turn into a narrative of loss (exclusion, lack, homesickness, nostalgia, alienation, etc.) is gradually redeemed into a narrative that locates the value of the between as a site from which to contemplate the most compelling forms of intellectual and hence political freedom. There is a warning here, too: a warding away of the palpable dangers of identity politics and in particular...
Stuart Hall and the Freedom of Diaspora
Saree Makdisi is professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. He is the author of, among other books, Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (2008) and Making England Western: Occidentalism, Race and Imperial Culture (2014).
Saree Makdisi; Stuart Hall and the Freedom of Diaspora. History of the Present 1 April 2020; 10 (1): 135–139. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/21599785-8221479
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