Cornel Ronald West (born June 2, 1953) is an American philosopher, political activist, social critic, actor, and public intellectual. The grandson of a Baptist minister, West focuses on the role of race, gender, and class in American society and the means by which people act and react to their "radical conditionedness". A socialist, West draws intellectual contributions from multiple traditions, including Christianity, the Black church, Marxism, neopragmatism, and transcendentalism. Among his most influential books are Race Matters (1994) and Democracy Matters (2004).
Cornel Ronald West
June 2, 1953
|Education||Harvard University (AB)|
Princeton University (MA, PhD)
|Thesis||Ethics, Historicism and the Marxist Tradition (1980)|
|Doctoral students||Leah Hunt-Hendrix|
West is an outspoken voice in left-wing politics in the United States. He has held professorships and fellowships at Harvard University, Yale University, Union Theological Seminary, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Pepperdine University, and the University of Paris during his career. He is also a frequent commentator on politics and social issues in many media outlets.
From 2010 through 2013, West co-hosted a radio program with Tavis Smiley, called Smiley and West. He has also been featured in several documentaries, and made appearances in Hollywood films such as The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, providing commentary for both films. West has also made several spoken word and hip hop albums, and due to his work, has been named MTV's Artist of the Week. West co-hosts a podcast, The Tight Rope, with Tricia Rose. He is additionally a frequent conversation partner with his friend Robert P. George, a prominent conservative intellectual, with the two often speaking together at colleges and universities on the meaning of liberal arts education, free speech, and civil dialogue. In 2020, he was listed by Prospect as the fourth-greatest thinker for the COVID-19 era.