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  • List of Illustrations  xi
    Preface / Bill Schwarz  xiii
    Part I. Jamaica
    1. Colonial Landscapes, Colonial Subjects  3
    2. The Two Jamaicas  25
    3. Thinking the Caribbean: Creolizing Thinking  61
    4. Race and its Disavowel  95
    Part II. Leaving Jamaica
    5. Conscripts of Modernity  109
    Part III. Journey to an Illusion
    6. Encountering Oxford: The Makings of a Diasporic Self  149
    7. Caribbean Migration: The Windrush Generation  173
    Part IV. Transition Zone
    8. England at Home  203
    9. Politics  227
    Works Referenced in the Text  273
    Index  285
  • "Hall, characteristically, refused such easy identifications, as either deracinated man of the New Left or postcolonial black theorist. Nowhere is this clearer than in Hall’s own ego-histoire, Familiar Stranger. . . [which], like the two volumes in the series already published by Duke, reminds us that for Hall thinking historically was essential to understanding ourselves and the conditions in which we live."

    "Familiar Stranger is a homecoming of sorts, a hybrid of memoir and meditation, a spirited voyage around the complexities of race, colour and class. . . . Familiar Stranger reads as a subtle and subversive memoir of the end of empire."

    "[T]he most significant figure on the British intellectual left over the course of the last 50 years. . . . Reading this book is to be reminded of the quiet rigour of his conversation...."
     

    "In Hall’s case, as a mixed-race or 'coloured' Jamaican, his journey to the imperial core involved a very particular kind of disenchantment. This posthumously published memoir tells that story with a thoughtful fair-mindedness that illuminates not only his own struggles with identity and a sense of place in the world, but also those of postwar Britain and its seemingly endless efforts to come to terms with class, race and empire."

    "[A] rich resource of Hall’s swift, lucid and beautifully turned theories of black identity...."
     

    "Hall is a key thinker. His analysis remains profound. In these days of Brexit we need his nuanced view of identity more than ever. When his voice comes through in this book it is rich with longing and the constant stretching of asking how we think about who we are and where we come from. Hall in full flow was quite something. He remains one of the best speakers I have heard."
     

    "There has never been a better time, in the context of the re-emergence of racialized modes of thinking, racism and discrimination across vast swathes of the Western world, to read and re-read Hall."

    "This is a compelling portrait of Hall’s own struggle to forge his own identity and sense of belonging as well as a grim history of slavery, colonialism and racism in modern Jamaica and Britain. Hall’s humanity and honesty pour from every page as he connects the ideas that formed his thinking to his own life."

    Reviews

  • "Hall, characteristically, refused such easy identifications, as either deracinated man of the New Left or postcolonial black theorist. Nowhere is this clearer than in Hall’s own ego-histoire, Familiar Stranger. . . [which], like the two volumes in the series already published by Duke, reminds us that for Hall thinking historically was essential to understanding ourselves and the conditions in which we live."

    "Familiar Stranger is a homecoming of sorts, a hybrid of memoir and meditation, a spirited voyage around the complexities of race, colour and class. . . . Familiar Stranger reads as a subtle and subversive memoir of the end of empire."

    "[T]he most significant figure on the British intellectual left over the course of the last 50 years. . . . Reading this book is to be reminded of the quiet rigour of his conversation...."
     

    "In Hall’s case, as a mixed-race or 'coloured' Jamaican, his journey to the imperial core involved a very particular kind of disenchantment. This posthumously published memoir tells that story with a thoughtful fair-mindedness that illuminates not only his own struggles with identity and a sense of place in the world, but also those of postwar Britain and its seemingly endless efforts to come to terms with class, race and empire."

    "[A] rich resource of Hall’s swift, lucid and beautifully turned theories of black identity...."
     

    "Hall is a key thinker. His analysis remains profound. In these days of Brexit we need his nuanced view of identity more than ever. When his voice comes through in this book it is rich with longing and the constant stretching of asking how we think about who we are and where we come from. Hall in full flow was quite something. He remains one of the best speakers I have heard."
     

    "There has never been a better time, in the context of the re-emergence of racialized modes of thinking, racism and discrimination across vast swathes of the Western world, to read and re-read Hall."

    "This is a compelling portrait of Hall’s own struggle to forge his own identity and sense of belonging as well as a grim history of slavery, colonialism and racism in modern Jamaica and Britain. Hall’s humanity and honesty pour from every page as he connects the ideas that formed his thinking to his own life."

  • “The publication of Familiar Stranger is truly an event. Contemplative and incisive, heart-wrenching and hilarious, profound and thought-provoking, the book demonstrates why Stuart Hall was our most brilliant thinker on identity and struggle, and why in the age of Brexit and Trumpism he is sorely missed. He embodied a capacious understanding of race, nation, and diaspora, and drew on his own life to reveal the conjunctural relationships between structures of oppression and the spaces of possibility, between lived experience and modalities of power. For those unfamiliar with Hall, this book ought to be the starting point.” — Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times

    “This extraordinary book tells us something of how Stuart Hall, this remarkable thinker, teacher, and theorist of a renewed Left, came to be. We see how his exceptional ability to weave together politics, history, depth psychology, and cultural identity is rooted in the never fully resolved displacements, tensions, and conflicts of his life. This work, fascinating and engaging as the story of his early life, is also immensely instructive as an account of an evolving theory, wide and many-facetted, capable of doing something like full justice to the important changes of our time.” — Charles Taylor

    “Stuart Hall analyzes the complexities of migration that left all British Commonwealth citizens puzzled by the political character of the word Black in the recent construction: British Black. He argues that race, which was always there, meaning difference, is now given a surprising interpretation in the social relations that define all people who are not white. This is a miracle of a book constructed by different hands but carrying always the dominant critical signature of Stuart Hall.” — George Lamming

    “Much more than a memoir, Familiar Stranger is a fascinating insight into how a life shapes a brilliant mind.” — Andrea Levy

    “Compelling. Stuart Hall’s story is the story of an age. He was a pioneer in the struggle for racial, cultural, and political liberation. He has transformed the way we think.” — Owen Jones

    From Chapter 1
    “I was born and formed in the closing days of the old colonial world. They are my conditions of existence. This is, as I see it, the starting point for narrating my life, the source of a curious, unreachable, and abiding unease. . . . As the great Trinidadian C. L. R. James once said of Caribbean migrants to the U.K., we are “in, but not of, Europe.” . . .In Jamaica, I wasn’t of course an exile. But there is a sense in which, although I belong to it, Jamaica worked to “other” me. As a consequence, I experience my life as sharply divided into two unequal but entangled, disproportionate halves. . . . Because of radically changing locations, I have belonged, in different ways, to both at different times of my life, without ever being fully of either.” — Stuart Hall, from Chapter 1

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  • Description

    "Sometimes I feel myself to have been the last colonial." This, in his own words, is the extraordinary story of the life and career of Stuart Hall—how his experiences shaped his intellectual, political, and theoretical work and how he became one of his age's brightest intellectual lights.

    Growing up in a middle-class family in 1930s Kingston, Jamaica, still then a British colony, the young Stuart Hall found himself uncomfortable in his own home. He lived among Kingston's stiflingly respectable brown middle class, who, in their habits and ambitions, measured themselves against the white elite. As colonial rule was challenged, things began to change in Kingston and across the world. In 1951 a Rhodes scholarship took Hall across the Atlantic to Oxford University, where he met young Jamaicans from all walks of life, as well as writers and thinkers from across the Caribbean, including V. S. Naipaul and George Lamming. While at Oxford he met Raymond Williams, Charles Taylor, and other leading intellectuals, with whom he helped found the intellectual and political movement known as the New Left. With the emotional aftershock of colonialism still pulsing through him, Hall faced a new struggle: that of building a home, a life, and an identity in a postwar England so rife with racism that it could barely recognize his humanity.

    With great insight, compassion, and wit, Hall tells the story of his early life, taking readers on a journey through the sights, smells, and streets of 1930s Kingston while reflecting on the thorny politics of 1950s and 1960s Britain. Full of passion and wisdom, Familiar Stranger is the intellectual memoir of one of our greatest minds.

    About The Author(s)

    Stuart Hall (1932–2014) was one of the most prominent and influential scholars and public intellectuals of his generation. He was a prolific writer and speaker and a public voice for critical intelligence and social justice who appeared widely on British television and radio. He taught at the University of Birmingham and the Open University, was the founding editor of New Left Review, and served as the director of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies during its most creative and influential decade. He is the author of Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and Other Essays and Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History, both also published by Duke University Press.

    Bill Schwarz is Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London, author of Memories of Empire, Volume I: The White Man's World, and an editor of History Workshop Journal. Schwarz and Catherine Hall are Stuart Hall's literary executors.
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