In this episode, we talk to David Scott, as part of his visit to Potsdam in Summer ’22 as Mercator Fellow at the RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms. The public talks and master classes he gave, enabled us to develop an ongoing conversation with him about his preoccupation in the last years with the life and thought of his friend Stuart Hall, specifically on his 2017 book Stuart Hall’s Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity. The conversation covers some of the key concepts of the book – style, voice, listening – and how these ideas relate to the question of how to do critical and theoretical work in a spirit of intellectual friendship.


In conversation with:

David Scott (Columbia University, New York)

David Scott is the Ruth and William Lubic Professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of Formations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (1994), Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality (1999), Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (2004), Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (2014), Stuart Hall’s Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity (2017), and (with Orlando Patterson), The Paradox of Freedom: A Biographical Dialogue (forthcoming 2023). He has just completed a book titled “Irreparable Evil: An Essay in Moral and Reparatory History,” and is now working on a biography of Stuart Hall. Scott was also the curatorial director of the exhibitions Caribbean Queer Visualities (Belfast, Glasgow, 2016, 2017), and The Visual Life of Social Affliction (Nassau, Miami, Rotterdam, 2019, 2020), and is the lead curator of Pressure: The Kingston Biennial 2022 (Kingston 2022). He is the founder and editor of the journal Small Axe and director of the Small Axe Project, in the context of which he curates a programme on Caribbean modernism.


You can read the introduction to the Stuart Hall’s Voice here.

  • Geertz, Clifford. “The Uses of Diversity” The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Delivered at The University of Michigan November 8, 1985 
  • Hall, Stuart. “Eight Politics, Contingency, Strategy: An Interview with David Scott” [1997]. Essential Essays, Volume 2. Duke University Press 2018
  • James, CLR. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. [1938] Penguin, 2001
  • Rorty, Richard. On ethnocentrism: A reply to Clifford Geertz. Ann Arbor,: University of Michigan., 1986.
  • Scott, David. “A Note on the Demands of Criticism” Public Culture. 1995 8:1 41-50

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