Cornel West, one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, will give a talk called “Democracy Matters” for the Assembly Series at 4 p.m. Feb. 2 in Graham Chapel.
West is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion at Princeton University, but he is also well-known for his many contributions to pop culture. He played Councillor West in the highly successful science-fiction films Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions and has recorded philosophical commentaries on the Matrix trilogy for the DVD release.
He has released a hip-hop CD and is a staple of the news-analysis and public-affairs programs circuit.
His intellectual work draws on a diverse array of influenes, ranging from American Baptist religious throught to modern social theory and he is widely considered to be one of the best commentators on the complexity of the American experience, especially regarding issues of race and politics.
His oeuvre includes 16 books and numerous articles and essays.
In 1993, his first best-seller, Race Matters, fueled a national dialogue on race and democracy and helped to formulate the agenda for President Clinton’s National Conversation on Race.
In 1993, he won an American Book Award for Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism (Volume 1 & 2).
In 2004’s Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, a follow-up to Race Matters, West explores the state of modern American democracy. His diagnosis is grim.
West states in the book that he aims to “Look unflinchingly at the waning of democratic energies and practices in our present age of American empire.”
Politically active, West served as adviser for Bill Bradley’s and Al Sharpton’s presidential bids.
Additionally, West has been a force within many recent social movements, most notably the Million Man March and the Hip-Hop Summit.
West earned a bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern languages and literatures from Harvard University and completed his graduate education at Princeton.
After graduation, he taught at Union Theological Seminary and Yale University. He began teaching at Princeton in 1988 and also served as director of the Program in African American Studies.
He joined Harvard’s faculty in 1994 and was later bestowed the rare distinction of University Professor. He returned to Princeton in 2002.
West’s Assembly Series lecture is co-sponsored by the Association of Black Students.
The lecture is free and open to the public, however seating for the general public will be limited.
Call 935-4620 or go online to assemblyseries.wustl.edu for more information.