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Dr. Cornel West

American Philosopher, Academic, Social Activist, Author, and Public Intellectual

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Cornel Ronald West (born June 2, 1953) is an American philosopher, political activist, social critic, author, public intellectual, and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America. West is an outspoken voice in American leftist politics, and as such has been critical of many center-left figures, including President Barack Obama. He has held professorships at Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Union Theological Seminary, 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, he 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 The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, also providing commentary for the films. He has also made several spoken word and hip hop albums, and has been named MTV's Artist of the Week for his work. He has been portrayed on Saturday Night Live by Kenan Thompson.

The son of a Baptist minister, West's work 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." Self-styling himself as a radical democrat 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).


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