Catherine Hall

Hall in 2021
Born1946 (age 77–78)
Kettering, Northamptonshire, England
(m. 1964; died 2014)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Sussex
University of Birmingham
Academic work

Catherine Hall FBA FRHistS (born 1946) is a British academic. She is Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London and chair of its digital scholarship project, the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery. Her work as a feminist historian focuses on the 18th and 19th centuries, and the themes of gender, class, race and empire.

Early life and education

Catherine Barrett (later Hall) was born in 1946 in Kettering, Northamptonshire.[1] Her father, John Barrett, was a Baptist minister, while her mother, Gladys, came from a family of millers.[2] Her parents met at Oxford University, where Gladys was studying history. When Catherine was three years old, the family moved to Leeds, Yorkshire, and she grew up there in a non-conformist household; both parents were "radical Labour". She went to grammar school, where she says she had an excellent education.[1]

She then attended the University of Sussex at Falmer, but was living between Brighton and London, having met her future husband, Stuart Hall, who lived in London. She found herself out of place among the "stylish, metropolitan types" and bewildered by the emphasis on the multidisciplinary syllabus at Sussex. She moved to the University of Birmingham, where Stuart had moved to set up the Centre for Cultural Studies, and she completed a traditional history degree, developing an interest in medieval history.[1]

Advocacy and other interests

Hall was involved in student politics and activism in Birmingham around 1968, but then had a baby, which changed her life. She got involved in the women's movement, became a feminist historian, and co-wrote Family Fortunes with Leonore Davidoff in 1987.[1]

In the early 1960s, she participated in a march for Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[3]

In 1970, Hall attended the UK's first National Women's Liberation Conference at Ruskin College, Oxford. She was a member of the Feminist Review collective between 1981 and 1997.[4]

Academic career

Hall is a feminist historian, known for her work on gender, class, race and empire between 1700 and 1900.[5]

She was employed as a "gender historian" at the Northeast London Polytechnic (now the University of East London) in the late 1980s, which involved looking at history from a feminist perspective, creating a new discipline subsequently known as feminist history. During this time, the discipline of postcolonialism developed, and she became interested in this topic.[1]

She was appointed Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History University College London (UCL) in 1998, and was Principal Investigator of the "Legacies of British Slave Ownership" and "Structure and Significance of British-Caribbean Slave Ownership, 1763–1833" research projects. She retired from her professorship on 31 July 2016.[6]

As of May 2022, she is Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at UCL and chair of its digital scholarship project, the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery, on which she has worked since 2009.[7]

Awards and recognition

Personal life

Hall met her future husband, cultural theorist and activist Stuart Hall, on a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament march in the early 1960s, and the two would go on to marry in 1964. The couple had a daughter, Becky, and son, Jess, and the family lived in Birmingham.[3][11] Stuart was Jamaican, and with mixed-race children, Catherine was aware of the legacy of British colonialism before commencing her academic work on the topic.[1]

Stuart died in 2014.[12] In May 2016, Hall donated 3,000 books from his library to Housmans bookshop.[13][14]

Published works




  1. ^ a b c d e f Hall, Catherine (4 October 2021). "Interview with Catherine Hall". Times Higher Education (Interview). Interviewed by McKie, Anna. Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  2. ^ Hall, Stuart. (2018). Familiar Stranger : a life between two islands. [Place of publication not identified]: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-198475-9. OCLC 1005885722.
  3. ^ a b Morley, David; Bill Schwarz (10 February 2014). "Stuart Hall obituary". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Hajkova, Anna (17 February 2020). "Feminist History Group". The University of Warwick. Warwich Un. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Honorary graduates for 2019 announced". University of York. 15 July 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Retirement of Professor Catherine Hall". History. 14 June 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Staff". Legacies of British Slavery. 12 May 2022. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  8. ^ Samuels, Gabriel (24 May 2016). "One of Britain's most famous academics refuses Israeli award". The Independent. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Record number of academics elected to British Academy". British Academy. 20 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  10. ^ "UCL professor recognised for ground-breaking work on legacies of British slavery". University College London. 2 September 2021.
  11. ^ Morley, David; Schwarz, Bill (11 February 2014). "Stuart Hall obituary - Influential cultural theorist, campaigner and founding editor of the New Left Review". The Guardian. p. 39. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  12. ^ Grant, Colin (31 March 2017). "Familiar Stranger by Stuart Hall review – from Jamaica to the New Left and Thatcherism". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Stuart Hall's Archive". Stuart Hall Foundation. 22 July 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Stuart Hall's Library | Centre for Contemporary Literature". Retrieved 6 December 2021.