Stuart Henry McPhail Hall was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1932 to parents who were of mixed African, Indian, and British ancestry.
He was born into a middle-class family and was awarded a Merton College scholarship at the University of Oxford in 1951. As a result, he had become a member of the Windrush generation. Hall felt like an outsider after his move, but he soon became a mentor for people who were experiencing racially-based social alienation.
Professor Stuart Hall was a secondary school teacher in London from 1958 until 1960. He became a lecturer at Chelsea College, London University, the following year. He became the first research professor at Birmingham University’s newly established Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in 1964, after publishing his first book. Hall sought out new working practices for teachers and students at the University of Birmingham, inspired by the political devotion of the 1968 uprisings and the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, that broke down traditional hierarchies, and resulted in forms of academic collaboration that, on the surface, looked more like the sciences than the arts.
He presented a variety of television shows, including the BBC series Redemption Songs and a number of Open University programmes. Hall was a pioneer in the area of cultural studies, but his political activities made him one of the most outspoken critics of ‘Thatcherism’ – he coined the term even before she became Prime Minister. He became a Professor of Sociology at the Open University in London in 1979, a post he maintained until his retirement in 1997. The work of Professor Stuart Hall is now widely researched and cited by students all around the world.