Stuart Hall was, throughout his life, and no less in Familiar Stranger, a passionate music fan, attuned to music’s capacity to play a generative role in the history of culture at large. And yet, I’ve often been struck by a funny disconnect between his writing on music in his life and music in the life of the culture at large, whether that is black diasporic culture, British culture, or broadly transatlantic culture. A reading of Familiar Stranger—and Hall’s work in the larger frame—offers a chance to think on an aspect of this disjuncture that should be of interest to future interpreters of Hall in music disciplines and offer some value to the conversation at large. Namely, how to read the discussion of jazz in this “peculiar” memoir, and thereby how to think about the intersection of music—or perhaps slightly more...
Jazz, Stuart Hall’s Critique, and the Challenge of the Aesthetic
Gabriel Solis is professor of music, African American studies, American Indian Studies, and anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is a scholar of black transnationalism whose work has encompassed studies of jazz, blues, and blues-derived popular musics from the late nineteenth century to the present. He is currently writing a book on the circulation of music, political philosophy, and ideas of blackness between African diasporic and Indigenous people in Australia and Melanesia, Singing the Black Pacific: Music, Liberation, and Sovereignty.
Gabriel Solis; Jazz, Stuart Hall’s Critique, and the Challenge of the Aesthetic. History of the Present 1 April 2020; 10 (1): 152–156. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/21599785-8221506
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