February 19, 2009

Large crowd expected for Cornel West appearance

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Those planning to see Cornel West, described as “one of America’s most provocative public intellectuals,” should plan on being in company -- lots of company.

Black American History month organizers expect a large showing for the appearance of the celebrated author and Princeton University professor at his appearance at 7 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 20, at Shryock Auditorium. With limited seating and free admission, organizers advise those planning to attend to arrive early.

“Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom” is West’s most recent book, and is available both in print and in audio format. The title refers, in part, to the title of President Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope.” West states that “we are now in one of the most truly prophetic moments in the history of America,” but one in which economic challenges cripple the poor and threaten to paralyze the working and middle classes. He says our social systems are broken and that “our rootless children” are deprived of community, culture and security as they face the future.

“So what we are talking about is hope on a tightrope,” he wrote in the introduction to his most recent book.

West is a professor of religion at Princeton University and director of the Afro-American Studies program there. He is the author of “Race Matters,” “Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism,” “The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism” and “Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America,” to name just a selection of his many publications.

West earned two bachelor’s degrees from Harvard University in three years, graduating magna cum laude. His teaching credits include Union Theological Seminary, Yale University, Harvard, and the University of Paris as well as Princeton.

He also appeared in “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” as Councilor West, of the Zion Council.