• 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.




    "A Sense of Displacement: Stuart Hall's Art of Living," Henry Louis Gates Jr. Lecture, Yale University, 26 April 2018.

    "'The Word Is Love': Michael Manley's Styles of Political Will," Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, 12 March 2018.

    "The Sense of Displacement in Stuart Hall," Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 14 March 2018.

    “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.