• David Scott

    Professor and Chair
    958 Schermerhorn, Mail Code: 5538, United States
    +1 212 854 4561


    My work, especially since Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality (1999) and Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (2004), has been concerned with the reconceptualization of the way we think the story of the colonial past for the postcolonial present. This has involved a variety of kinds of inquiry (taking the Caribbean as my principal “field” of engagement), into tradition and generations, friendship and dialogue, self-determination and sovereignty, tragedy and temporality, and transitional justice and liberalism. Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (2014) and Stuart Hall’s Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity (2017) are varying instantiations of these preoccupations. I am currently working on a biography of Stuart Hall, as well as a study of slavery, evil, and repair. I continue to edit Small Axe, and direct the Small Axe Project, which is involved in a number of special initiatives around visual, translation, literary, and historiographical issues.




    “Antinomies of Slavery, Enlightenment, and Universal History” Small Axe no. 33 (November 2010): 152-162.

    “The Traditions of Historical Others” Symposium on Gender, Race, and Philosophy 8, no. 1 (Winter 2012), available at http://sgrp.typepad.com/sgrp/winter-2012-symposium-mccarthy-2009.html

    “Norms of Self-Determination: Thinking Sovereignty Through” Middle East Law and Governance 4, nos. 2 & 3 (2012): 195-224.

    “On the Very Idea of a Black Radical Tradition” Small Axe no. 40 (March 2013): 1-6.

    “The Paradox of Freedom: An Interview with Orlando Patterson” Small Axe no 40 (March 2013): 96-240.

    “On the Question of Caribbean Studies” Small Axe no. 41 (July 2013): 1-7.

    Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014)

    “On the Moral Justification of Reparations for New World Slavery” in Robert Nichols and Jakeet Singh (eds.), Freedom and Democracy in an Imperial Context: Dialogues with James Tully (New York: Routledge, 2014), 100-20.

    “The Temporality of Generations: Dialogue, Tradition, Criticism” New Literary History, 45, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 157-81, special issue on “Interpretation and its Rivals.”

    “The Tragic Vision in Postcolonial Time” PMLA 129, no. 4 (October 2014): 799-808, special issue on tragedy.

    “The Theory of Haiti: The Black Jacobins and the Poetics of Universal History” Small Axe 45 (November 2014): 35-51. [Reprinted in Charles Forsdick and Christian Høgsbjerg eds. The Black Jacobins Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017), 115-38.

    Stuart Hall’s Voice: Intimations of An Ethics of Receptive Generosity (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017).

     “The Sense of the Tragic in C. L. R. James,” Introduction to C. L. R. James, Preface to Criticism, Robert Hill ed. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017, forthcoming).

    “Friendship as an Art of Living” Small Axe no. 54 (November 2017): vii-x, forthcoming

    “On the Very Idea of the Making of Modern Jamaica” Small Axe no. 54 (November 2017): 42-47, forthcoming

    “Seeing False Images of Ourselves”: Rex Nettleford’s Mirror Mirror in the Wake of the 1960s” Small Axe no. 54 (November 2017): 152-66, forthcoming.