16 Pages

Gilroy’s Influences

WithPaul Williams

Gilroy's research is an extension of several major intellectual traditions. This chapter explains two of them: the Negritude movement that began in the 1930s and the cultural studies scholars working in Britain in the middle of the twentieth century. What Paul Gilroy values most about the Negritude thinkers is their commitment to absorbing the historical lessons of colonialism and slavery, and remaking the authors' conception of humanity in light of those lessons. The Negritude writers fighting against fascism sharpened their theories of colonial racism as a result of their 'proximity to Europe's most profound modern catastrophe: the industrialized murder of millions in pursuit of racial purity and homogeneity'. The 'Stuart Hall generation' is Gilroy's name for a cohort of intellectuals working slightly after the Negritude thinkers. Gilroy sees himself belonging to a third generation of scholars. The chapter concludes with what differentiates Gilroy from the cultural studies movement out of which his work emerged.