Hobart and William Smith Colleges are the first stop for Cornel West, one of America’s most provocative and eloquently outspoken public intellectuals, on the tour for his new book, “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir.” West joins a distinguished list of speakers of Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ President’s Forum Series on Monday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m., at the Smith Opera House in Geneva, N.Y. Doors open at 6:30.
An author, civil rights activist and The Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, West first gained widespread attention with the 1993 publication of his bestselling book, “Race Matters,” an analysis of racism in American democracy.
“Dr. West’s visit is a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty, staff and members of the HWS and Geneva community to engage with one of the most influential academics in America,” says Mark D. Gearan, president of HWS. “He has studied and written about some of the critical issues facing the world today – race, class, religion, democracy and freedom. Dr. West’s lecture will be sure to stimulate important discussion on these topics both on and off campus.”
West earned two bachelor’s degrees from Harvard in three years, magna cum laude. After receiving 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.
“Cornel West is known as a great public intellectual, and what I appreciate about him is the way he makes the language and ideas of academia available to all people,” says Dean of William Smith College Cerri Banks who was instrumental in bringing West to HWS. “He talks about issues of our time and opens up dialogue, which I hope will continue on campus and in the community.”
West is the author of many groundbreaking books, including “Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin” and his recent publications “Democracy Matters,” an analysis of the arrested development of democracy in America and the Middle East, and “Restoring Hope,” a compilation of interviews with African-American luminaries discussing hope and despair in Black America.
West has also produced three albums, including “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations,” a collection of socially conscience music featuring collaborations with Prince, Outkast, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli and KRS-ONE. He was an influential force in developing the storyline for the popular “Matrix” movie trilogy and has served as its official spokesperson, as well as playing a recurring role in the final two films.
In 2000, during his tenure as professor of religion and African-American studies at Harvard University, West visited HWS for the “Genocide in the 20th Century” lecture series, delivering a talk titled “Restoring Hope: Beyond Humanity’s Dark Side.”
President’s Forum events are free and open the public; all are encouraged to attend.
Established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, The President’s Forum Series is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty, staff and interested community members. Many speakers draw audience members from the surrounding cities of Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca.