Imani Perry is a Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. In this conversation with University of Texas Sociology Professor Ben Carrington, Perry discusses Hall’s work as foundational for her own intellectual trajectory as a cultural theorist.
Likewise, Perry addresses Hall’s relevance for understanding a U.S. context by noting that the questions Hall asks around political economy, the rise of neoliberalism, race, class, and culture are important for making sense of what is happening in the United States because “we are all grappling with legacies of empire and capitalism and racialization.”
Perry argues that although we see different iterations of these issues as they move around the world, Hall’s theorizing is prescient for making sense of questions of globalization. The conversation also addresses Hall as a model for being a public intellectual who neither postures nor self-aggrandizes but rather is about conversation and engagement with and a responsibility to different public.
Carrington and Perry discuss how Hall’s work is useful for understanding not only Brexit, but also the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. Perry explains that she understands these issues as part of an “anxiety about the growth of precarity, globalization, and neoliberalism, and the kind of vulnerability that [these issues] produce for whiteness,” as well as an appeal for a return to conventional imperial relations. Hall’s work, which addresses the intersection of historical forces that produce these anxieties, helps us to think about these issues, although he does not necessarily give us the answers. Hall provides a model for how to read the world around us ethically.
All conversations in the Stuart Hall: In Conversations series with Ben Carrington can be found here.
That’s from Langston Hughes’s poem, “Let America Be America Again.”
MPR News Host Kerri Miller asked intellectuals, artists and musicians and activists to speak about what it means to be an American. Professor Eddic Glaude participated in the series.
Every conversation in the series kicked off with this iconic line, and expanded in new directions.
“There’s something about the South that is so fundamentally American. Right? That the soil is soaked with the blood of our contradiction. That the region is haunted. And it’s haunted by its past and present. And so you have this amazing civility. The smile. Southern hospitality is real. Once you cross over into my home state people are smiling.”
“I went to Bozos, this wonderful seafood place, Kerri, when I was home for my homecoming recently. I usually go home to take my mama to the fair. And I came home a week early and I was going to get me this wonderful 12-inch seafood po’ boy. And I walk into this place, and this real grisly, stereotypical southern white man says, ‘Hey, don’t I see you on television?’ And I said yes. And he said, ‘Boy, you look as good in person as you do on television.’ And then he said, “I don’t agree with much of what you say, but keep saying it.” -Eddie Glaude Jr.
Glaude grew up in Mississippi. He is now a Professor of Religion at Princeton where he chairs the Department of African American Studies. His newest book is “Democracy in Black.”
Its power comes because the author does not begin with “pristine principles or with assumptions about our inherent goodness.” Rather, its view of democracy, as he writes, “emerges out of an unflinching encounter with lynching trees, prison cells, foreclosed homes, young men and women gunned down by police and places where ‘hope, unborn, had died.’”
Democracy in Black is rich in history and bold in opinion, and inconvenient truths leap from every page. For example, and I’m quoting the book again, “black people must lose their blackness if America is to be transformed. But of course, white people get to stay white.”
The book opens in Ferguson, Missouri, with the author talking to three, dynamic young black women, newly born to activism, and it closes in the intimacy of the reader’s heart, where each of us wrestles with the question of whether we can indeed change the habits of racism and create together a new politics based on a revolution in values.
The author is Eddie Glaude Jr. Glaude was raised in the Deep South, in Moss Point, Mississippi, and still remembers the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross at the fairground. He’s now a professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University, where he also chairs the Center for African-American Studies. This is his third book, and he’s a member in good standing of the black establishment, which he rigorously calls to account in Democracy in Black. – Bill Moyers