A Sense of Displacement: Stuart Hall's Art of Living 

It is with great joy that we cordially invite you, together with the RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms, to an evening with David Scott in conversation with Mojisola Adebayo, Kadija George, Khwezi Mkhize and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung on one of the most eminent Caribbean-British thinkers. David Scott’s presentation is a partial prolegomena to a biography of the Jamaican-British radical intellectual Stuart Hall (1932–2014). Hall was a founder of the first British New Left and subsequently, British cultural studies, in the context of which he engaged across a wide range of thematic and theoretical domains, from Marxism and semiotics to the visual arts and Black identity, with large global impact. But above all, as David Scott argues, Hall was a thinker defined by a dialogical style, a way of being an intellectual. In this sense, Scott is going to think about Hall as an intellectual in the tradition of the art of living, someone for whom attunement rather than truth was the objective. Animating this art of living is his abiding (cosmopolitan, modernist) sense of dissonance and displacement. These were not just cognitive but embodied foundations of his approach to the world. In a provisional way, Scott’s presentation will aim to clarify some of the senses in which dissonance and displacement were less theories of politics and culture than ethical modes of being a critical self. 

The RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms aims at critically rethinking the Eurocentric legacy of the cosmopolitan project from marginalized, silenced postcolonial perspectives. We are glad to collaborate on the occasion of David Scott’s lecture and the podium discussion on Stuart Hall’s legacy.


David Scott is currently visiting the Research Training Group minor cosmopolitanisms as a Mercator Fellow. He 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.

Mojisola Adebayo FRSLis a playwright, performer, producer, director, facilitator, mentor and Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London. She is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Potsdam University and is Writer-on-Attachment to the National Theatre (Britain). Mojisola has worked internationally in theatre, communities and education, for over thirty years, from Antarctica to Zimbabwe. Her plays are published in several books including Mojisola Adebayo: Plays One and Plays Two, (Oberon Books) and National Connections (Bloomsbury Methuen). Co-authored publications include The Theatre for Development Handbook (Pan) Black British Queer Plays and Practitioners (Bloomsbury Methuen). Recent plays include Nothello (Coventry Belgrade 2022). Upcoming plays include STARS (ICA, London) and the Alfred Fagon award winning play, Family Tree (Coventry Belgrade and Brixton House, London) both opening in spring 2023.

Kadija Georgeis a Sierra Leonean-British literary activist who edits, publishes, and mentors writers of African and Asian descent. She is the Publications Manager for Inscribe/Peepal Tree, editor of several anthologies and author of a poetry collection, Irki. She is co-founder of Mboka Festival of Arts, Culture and Sport and founder of thean app. AfriPoeTree SIV. 

Khwezi Mkhizeis Senior Lecturer in the Department of African Literature, at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He is co-editor of the journal African Studies. He is currently working on his first book A Home-Made Empire: South Africa’s Imperium.

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikungis a curator, author, holding a PhD in biotechnology. Since 2009, he has been managing director and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin. For his work there, Ndikung received the Order of Merit of the State of Berlin in October 2020. Ndikung is professor for the MA program Spatial Strategies at the Weißensee School of Art, Berlin, and co-editor and author of numerous publications on aspects of cultural criticism and critical exhibition theory. Ndikung is also Artistic Director of the Dutch exhibition sonsbeek 20-24 and the 13th Rencontres de Bamako 2021, a biennial of African photography in Mali. He was Curator at Large of documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, and Guest Curator of Dak'Art – Biennale de l'Art Africain Contemporain 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. In January 2023, Ndikung will take up his position as the new director at HKW, Berlin.