Georgia NeSmith
3 min readDec 4, 2020


I am so sad to learn that Stuart Hall is no longer with us, and hasn't been since 2014. [No wonder he didn't answer my Linked In note to him!] I am terrible at keeping in touch with people after there no longer are ordinary, pressing reasons to interact. I am kicking myself for having let that contact go.

Somehow, Stuart Hall to me is still the scholar I brought to the University of Iowa in 1986 for a series of talks and classroom visits, and later to Drake University in 1989 for the same. I was a graduate student at the U Iowa, and Editor of the Journal of Communication Inquiry for two issues, Fall 1987 and Spring 1988.

Stuart Hall's series of articles formed about half of the Fall issue. The series, Cultural Studies in South Africa: A Formal Attempt at Praxis, was one of the most requested sets long after it was published. He had sent them to me "out of the blue," so to speak, and I was thrilled to be able to publish them after they'd gone thru the usual peer reviews.

Later, thanks to funding provided by the University, I was able to bring him to Iowa for a series of classroom talks and public lectures.

I did receive a bit of flack over "violating the embargo" on supporting research from South Africa, which was still under apartheid. Altho I supported that embargo generally I thought it would be seriously counterproductive to refuse to publish academic work that challenged the very assumptions of apartheid and provided us with an entree into the intelectual lives of academics who were helping to organize the resistance.

My stint as editor was temporary as the job was to enable graduate students to have experience in academic editing, and it was traded off every year.

At Drake in 1989-90, I was "ABD" and managing editor for Dr. Joseph Scneider, who was in his final year of a 3-year appointment as editor of Social Problems.

There is a memorial essay building in my head [and heart] right now. I have been out of touch for a long time because I became disabled and was no longer able to teach full time, and a few years here and there, unable to work at all, and definitely not doing much other than informal research. I think that was one of the main reasons I didn't stay in touch. At the time I was too embarrased for my lack of subsequent academic achievement.

A funny side story to that is that, because I organized Hall's visit to the U Iowa, people [students and faculty alike] assumed I must be faculty. But there were no formal rules that said I *couldn't* do what I did, so I just did it.

[To all graduate students out there: don't wait for permission. Unless there's a written rule that says you can't: JUST DO IT!]

Someone needs to do a retrospective on how his "praxis" upended the study of communication and mass communication around the world. He had a profound impact on cultural studies in universities all over the world.

I had such good fortune to meet him, and I am kicking myself for having been such a poor correspondent.

Life is too short.



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.