West, Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University and author of books including "Race Matters," will speak Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Meharry Hall of historic East College.
The following day at 4:15 p.m., a panel discussion featuring Harold Foster, Distinguished Professor of English Education and Literacy at the University of Akron, and two other guests will take place in the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media's Watson Forum. Both events are free and open to all.
West's writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision."
In addition to "Race Matters," a 1993 analysis of racism in American Democracy that has sold more than a half a million copies, West has published 16 other books and has edited 13 texts. He has been recognized with an American Book Award and is the recipient of more than 20 honorary degrees, including one from DePauw.
At Princeton, West teaches in the Center for African American Studies and in the department of religion. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard in three years, magna cum laude. After earning his Ph.D. at Princeton, he became a professor of religion and director of the Afro-American Studies program there. West has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris.
In 2004's "Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism," West analyzed the arrested development of democracy both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. He argued that if America is to become a better steward of democratization around the world, it must first recognize its own long history of imperialist corruption.
His latest compact disc, "Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations," is a collection of socially conscious music featuring collaborations with Prince, Outkast, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli. West also offers commentary weekly on Public Radio International's "Tavis Smiley Show."
The professor was also an influential force in developing the storyline for the popular "Matrix" movie trilogy and played a recurring role, Councillor West, in the final two films.
Cornel West delivered the commencement address to DePauw University's Class of 1996, and also visited the Greencastle campus in 1994 for a lecture.