Cornel West

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Cornel West

"Currently the Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, West burst onto the national scene in 1993 with his bestselling book, Race Matters, a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, selling more than a half a million copies to date. In addition, West has published 18 other books and has edited 13 texts and has received more than 20 honorary degrees.

"West earned two bachelor's degrees from Harvard in three years, magna cum laude. Martin Kilson, one of his professors there, describes West as "the most intellectually aggressive and highly cerebral student I have taught." 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 his book, "Democracy Matters," West analyzes the arrested development of democracy both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. In his latest book, Hope on a Tightrope, he offers courageous commentary on issues that affect the lives of all Americans. Themes include Race, Leadership, Faith, Family, Philosophy, and Love and Service." [1] wiki

His website is


Steven Salaita writes in April 2009 that: "Cornel West is one of a handful of modern American intellectuals who have come to symbolize academic radicalism among popular commentators without ever actually having proposed any truly radical ideas (Rashid Khalidi, Michael Bérubé, and Patricia Williams are a few others). West did not develop his broad public appeal by espousing dangerous ideas. Yet his appeal as a straw man for curmudgeonly culture warriors chafed by the supposed decay of timeless Western values indicates that West is nevertheless mildly threatening, even if he isn't really taken to task for being radical but for not being quite patriotic enough. There is one area in particular in which West's writing fails to achieve either analytical or ethical distinctiveness, thereby acting as a metonym for West's political timidity in general: the Israel-Palestine conflict, something West assesses outside of its own history by emphasizing multicultural American paradigms rather than revolutionary decolonial advocacy." (see full article) [7]


  • Black Theology and Marxist Thought (1979)
  • Prophesy Deliverance! An Afro-American Revolutionary Christianity (1982)
  • Prophetic Fragments (1988)
  • The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism (1989)
  • Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life (with bell hooks, 1991)
  • The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought (1991)
  • Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism (1993)
  • Race Matters (1993)
  • Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America (1994)
  • Jews and Blacks: A Dialogue on Race, Religion, and Culture in America (with rabbi Michael Lerner, 1995)
  • The Future of the Race (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 1996)
  • Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America (Edited by Kelvin Shawn Sealey, 1997)
  • The War Against Parents: What We Can Do For America's Beleaguered Moms and Dads (with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, 1998)
  • The Future of American Progressivism (with Roberto Unger, 1998)
  • The African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Century (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 2000)
  • Cornel West: A Critical Reader (George Yancy, editor) (2001)
  • Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism (2004)
  • Commentary on The Matrix, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions; see The Ultimate Matrix Collection (with Ken Wilber, 2004).
  • Post-Analytic Philosophy, edited with John Rajchman.
  • Hope On a Tightrope: Words & Wisdom (2008).

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Cornel West, accessed April 20, 2009.
  2. Directors, Center for Work-Life Policy, accessed May 10, 2010.
  3. Masthead, Dissent Magazine, accessed January 20, 2011.
  4. About, New Politics, accessed July 24, 2009.
  5. Whos who, The Shabazz Center, accessed August 4, 2009.
  6. Advisors, International Bridges to Justice, accessed May 19, 2010.
  7. Steven Salaita, "Cornel West And The Ethics Of Faithful Equivocation", Swans Commentary, April 20, 2009.