The X of Representation: Rereading Stuart Hall

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10.3898/NEWF:96/97.08.2019

This essay is a study of the notion of representation – its relation to difference, politics, diaspora, otherness, truth, and doxa – within Stuart Hall’s work. The reevaluation of this concept in terms of dialectics and différance, or of blackness and innocence, is shown to be an abiding preoccupation of Hall’s work. In particular, because blackness (or its notion) is never innocent, this essay explores the consequences of a certain undecidability that attends any encounter between representation and difference. And it is this X – its shaping of black meaning and life – that alerts us to an unsettling tension in Hall’s work that no knowledge or encounter can fill and that leads to a purely negative reassessment of the racial imperatives of certain truths.

New Formations 96/97: This Conjuncture