Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is a Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He has written over 20 books and has edited 13. Though he is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, his most recent releases, Black Prophetic Fire and Radical King, were received with critical acclaim. In 1993, Dr. West was the winner of The American Book Award.
Dr. West is a frequent guest on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN, C-Span and Democracy Now. He made his film debut in the Matrix – and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand.
Last but certainly not least, he has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best Jazz Album of the year of 2009), The Cornel West Theory’s Second Rome, Raheem DeVaughn’s Grammy-nominated Love & War: Masterpeace, and on Bootsy Collins’ The Funk Capital of the World. His latest spoken word feature reunited him with Terence Blanchard for, “Breathless” – a tribute to the “I Can’t Breathe” movement. In short, Cornel West has a passion to invite a variety of people from all walks of life into his world of ideas in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.
Philosophy professor at Harvard and Founding Fellow of the Sanders Institute Dr. Cornel West debates Trump supporter Paris Dennard on Tuesday's edition of CNN's 'Anderson Cooper 360' about the president's feud with NFL and what role race plays in the culture war.
Dr. Cornel West and Robert George kicked off a series of "Critical Conversations" at Auburn University on Friday September 1, 2017. The University said the speaker series has been put together in an effort to educate students to the point of making thought-out decisions. “Free speech is one of our nation’s founding principles,” said Auburn President Steven Leath. “Engaging with national thinkers and speakers to explore all perspectives around civil discourse is key to informed decision-making, critical thinking and leadership. We’re excited to bring this opportunity to our students and the campus community.”
In this roundtable discussion hosted by Democracy NOW, Dr. Cornel West speaks about his experience at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. As thousands of neo-Nazis, KKK members and other white nationalists descended on the city to participate in the "Unite the Right" rally, thousands of counterprotesters met in Charlottesville, including clergy, students, Black Lives Matter activists, and protesters with the anti-fascist movement known as "antifa."
The pursuit of knowledge and the maintenance of a free and democratic society require the cultivation and practice of the virtues of intellectual humility, openness of mind, and, above all, love of truth. These virtues will manifest themselves and be strengthened by one’s willingness to listen attentively and respectfully to intelligent people who challenge one’s beliefs and who represent causes one disagrees with and points of view one does not share.
While they are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, Princeton Professors Robert George and Cornel West have spent the past several years teaching and lecturing together to accomplish a common goal: the provision of a true liberal arts education to their students. Through their courses and their friendship, they have served as examples of how, when two knowledgeable and principled individuals come together in an honest and non adversarial pursuit of truth, the competition of ideas deepens their own understanding of that truth.
In his new book, Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges—who has long chronicled the malaise of a society in moral decline — investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion, and resistance. In what was a timely and thought-provoking conversation, Cornel West engaged Hedges’ on his message that popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization and together discuss the moral imperative of revolt.
This conversation challenges and questions ideas of political correctness, anti-establishment movements, global climate change, and capitalism itself.
A week after his arrest during protests in Ferguson, Dr. Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary professor, and author of (in dialogue with and edited by Christa Buschendorf) Black Prophetic Fire (Beacon Press, 2014), talks about his latest work, a reexamination of the lives and legacies of leading black activists Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells – and what today’s civil rights activists need to remember about them.
In the 1970s, Dr. Cornell West wrote a pamphlet on democratic socialism and why and how it could address racism. He did this by looking at various Marxist theories of racism, and then applying them to modern day America.
These theories look at racism as a result of establishing and maintaining differences in the workplace to xenophobic attitudes.
Dr. West then presents a theory of racism that goes beyond the Marxist theories. Marxist theories look at racism as a result of capitalism, when history shows that racism exists far beyond capitalistic countries - Dr. West states "Racism is as much a product of the interaction of cultural ways of life as it is of modern capitalism. A more adequate conception of racism should reflect this twofold context of cultural and economic realities in which racism has flourished."
He concludes by talking about democratic socialism as a way to address racism in this country: "We must frankly acknowledge that a democratic socialist society will not necessarily eradicate racism. Yet a democratic socialist society is the best hope for alleviating and minimizing racism, particularly institutional forms of racism."
Cornel West—a self-described intellectual freedom fighter influenced by the Baptist church, American transcendentalism, the Black Panthers and European philosophy—seeks to revive the best of liberalism, populism and democratic socialism. In this talk, West teaches that racial division fosters the poverty, paranoia, fear and distrust that undermine our nation's democratic process.