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Prophetic Fragments

release date: Jan 01, 1988
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Prophetic Fragments
"This collection of writings, drawn from a wide variety of sources, reveals the intellectual depth and breadth of the author. The articles include political commentary, cultural critique, literary analysis, extended book reviews, and even a short story by West. All of these are held together by a prophetic Afro-American Christian perspective. The value of this book is that it provides easy access to a significant selection of the author's corpus." --Religious Studies Review (October 1989) "This volume collects over 50 articles, book reviews, and addresses by a Union Seminary theologian . . . . The most eloquent pieces are those in which West explains and interprets his more personally felt tradition of Afro-American Protestantism." -- Library Journal

The American Evasion of Philosophy

release date: May 09, 1989
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The American Evasion of Philosophy
Taking Emerson as his starting point, Cornel West’s basic task in this ambitious enterprise is to chart the emergence, development, decline, and recent resurgence of American pragmatism. John Dewey is the central figure in West’s pantheon of pragmatists, but he treats as well such varied mid-century representatives of the tradition as Sidney Hook, C. Wright Mills, W. E. B. Du Bois, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Lionel Trilling. West’s "genealogy" is, ultimately, a very personal work, for it is imbued throughout with the author’s conviction that a thorough reexamination of American pragmatism may help inspire and instruct contemporary efforts to remake and reform American society and culture. "West . . . may well be the pre-eminent African American intellectual of our generation."—The Nation "The American Evasion of Philosophy is a highly intelligent and provocative book. Cornel West gives us illuminating readings of the political thought of Emerson and James; provides a penetrating critical assessment of Dewey, his central figure; and offers a brilliant interpretation—appreciative yet far from uncritical—of the contemporary philosopher and neo-pragmatist Richard Rorty. . . . What shines through, throughout the work, is West's firm commitment to a radical vision of a philosophic discourse as inextricably linked to cultural criticism and political engagement."—Paul S. Boyer, professor emeritus of history, University of Wisconsin–Madison. Wisconsin Project on American Writers Frank Lentricchia, General Editor

Democracy Matters

release date: Aug 30, 2005
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Democracy Matters
In his major bestseller, Race Matters, philosopher Cornel West burst onto the national scene with his searing analysis of the scars of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, still in print after ten years, having sold more than four hundred thousand copies. A mesmerizing speaker with a host of fervidly devoted fans, West gives as many as one hundred public lectures a year and appears regularly on radio and television. Praised by The New York Times for his "ferocious moral vision" and hailed by Newsweek as "an elegant prophet with attitude," he bridges the gap between black and white opinion about the country's problems. In Democracy Matters, West returns to the analysis of the arrested development of democracy-both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. In a strikingly original diagnosis, he argues that if America is to become a better steward of democratization around the world, we must first wake up to the long history of imperialist corruption that has plagued our own democracy. Both our failure to foster peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the crisis of Islamist anti-Americanism stem largely from hypocrisies in our dealings with the world. Racism and imperial expansionism have gone hand in hand in our country's inexorable drive toward hegemony, and our current militarism is only the latest expression of that drive. Even as we are shocked by Islamic fundamentalism, our own brand of fundamentalism, which West dubs Constantinian Christianity, has joined forces with imperialist corporate and political elites in an unholy alliance, and four decades after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., insidious racism still inflicts debilitating psychic pain on so many of our citizens. But there is a deep democratic tradition in America of impassioned commitment to the fight against imperialist corruptions-the last great expression of which was the civil rights movement led by Dr. King-and West brings forth the powerful voices of that great democratizing tradition in a brilliant and deeply moving call for the revival of our better democratic nature. His impassioned and provocative argument for the revitalization of America's democracy will reshape the terms of the raging national debate about America's role in today's troubled world.

The Rich and the Rest of Us

release date: Apr 17, 2012
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The Rich and the Rest of Us
Record unemployment and rampant corporate avarice, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunities in an increasingly paralyzed nation—these are the realities of 21st-century America, land of the free and home of the new middle class poor. Award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation’s leading democratic intellectuals, co-hosts of Public Radio’s Smiley & West, now take on the "P" word—poverty. The Rich and the Rest of Us is the next step in the journey that began with "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience." Smiley and West’s 18-city bus tour gave voice to the plight of impoverished Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. With 150 million Americans persistently poor or near poor, the highest numbers in over five decades, Smiley and West argue that now is the time to confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America before it’s too late. By placing the eradication of poverty in the context of the nation’s greatest moments of social transformation— such as the abolition of slavery, woman’s suffrage, and the labor and civil rights movements—ending poverty is sure to emerge as America’s 21st‑century civil rights struggle. As the middle class disappears and the safety net is shredded, Smiley and West, building on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., ask us to confront our fear and complacency with 12 poverty changing ideas. They challenge us to re-examine our assumptions about poverty in America—what it really is and how to eliminate it now.

Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought

release date: Jan 01, 1991
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Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought
In this fresh, original analysis of Marxist thought, Cornel West makes a significant contribution to today's debates about the relevance of Marxism by putting the issue of ethics squarely on the Marxist agenda. West, professor of religion and director of the Afro-American studies program at Princeton University, shows that not only was ethics an integral part of the development of Marx's own thinking throughout his career, but that this crucial concern has been obscured by such leading and influential interpreters as Engels, Kautsky, Lukcs, and others who diverted Marx's theory into narrow forms of positivism, economism, and Hegelianism.

The Future of the Race

release date: Jul 20, 2011
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The Future of the Race
Almost one-hundred years ago, W.E.B. Du Bois proposed the notion of the "talented tenth," an African American elite that would serve as leaders and models for the larger black community. In this unprecedented collaboration, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West--two of Du Bois's most prominent intellectual descendants--reassess that relationship and its implications for the future of black Americans. If the 1990s are the best of times for the heirs of the Talented Tenth, they are unquestionably worse for the growing black underclass. As they examine the origins of this widening gulf and propose solutions for it, Gates and West combine memoir and biography, social analysis and cultural survey into a book that is incisive and compassionate, cautionary and deeply stirring. "Today's most public African American intellectual voices...West and Gates have made a valuable contribution."--Julian Bond, Philadelphia Inquirer "Brilliant...a social, cultural and political blueprint...that attempts to illumine the future path for blacks and American democracy."--New York Daily News "Henry Louis Gates., Jr., and Cornel West are among the most renowned American intellectuals of our time."--New York Times Book Review

Keeping Faith

release date: Nov 12, 2012
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Keeping Faith
'The sheer range of West's interests and insights is staggering and exemplary: he appears equally comfortable talking about literature, ethics, art, jurisprudence, religion, and popular-cultural forms.' - Artforum Keeping Faith is a rich, moving and deeply personal collection of essays from one of the leading African American intellectuals of our age. Drawing upon the traditions of Western philosophy and modernity, Cornel West critiques structures of power and oppression as they operate within American society and provides a way of thinking about human dignity and difference afresh. Impressive in its scope, West confidently and deftly explores the politics and philosophy of America, the role of the black intellectual, legal theory and the future of liberal thought, and the fate of African Americans. A celebration of the extraordinary lives of ordinary Americans, Keeping Faith is a petition to hope and a call to faith in the redemptive power of the human spirit.

Race Matters, 25th Anniversary

release date: Dec 05, 2017
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Race Matters, 25th Anniversary
The twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of the groundbreaking classic, with a new introduction First published in 1993, on the one-year anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, Race Matters became a national best seller that has gone on to sell more than half a million copies. This classic treatise on race contains Dr. West’s most incisive essays on the issues relevant to black Americans, including the crisis in leadership in the Black community, Black conservatism, Black-Jewish relations, myths about Black sexuality, and the legacy of Malcolm X. The insights Dr. West brings to these complex problems remain relevant, provocative, creative, and compassionate. In a new introduction for the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition, Dr. West argues that we are in the midst of a spiritual blackout characterized by imperial decline, racial animosity, and unchecked brutality and terror as seen in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Charlottesville. Calling for a moral and spiritual awakening, Dr. West finds hope in the collective and visionary resistance exemplified by the Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock, and the Black freedom tradition. Now more than ever, Race Matters is an essential book for all Americans, helping us to build a genuine multiracial democracy in the new millennium.

Black Prophetic Fire

release date: Oct 07, 2014
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Black Prophetic Fire
An unflinching look at nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies. In an accessible, conversational format, Cornel West, with distinguished scholar Christa Buschendorf, provides a fresh perspective on six revolutionary African American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells. In dialogue with Buschendorf, West examines the impact of these men and women on their own eras and across the decades. He not only rediscovers the integrity and commitment within these passionate advocates but also their fault lines. West, in these illuminating conversations with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf, describes Douglass as a complex man who is both “the towering Black freedom fighter of the nineteenth century” and a product of his time who lost sight of the fight for civil rights after the emancipation. He calls Du Bois “undeniably the most important Black intellectual of the twentieth century” and explores the more radical aspects of his thinking in order to understand his uncompromising critique of the United States, which has been omitted from the American collective memory. West argues that our selective memory has sanitized and even “Santaclausified” Martin Luther King Jr., rendering him less radical, and has marginalized Ella Baker, who embodies the grassroots organizing of the civil rights movement. The controversial Malcolm X, who is often seen as a proponent of reverse racism, hatred, and violence, has been demonized in a false opposition with King, while the appeal of his rhetoric and sincerity to students has been sidelined. Ida B. Wells, West argues, shares Malcolm X’s radical spirit and fearless speech, but has “often become the victim of public amnesia.” By providing new insights that humanize all of these well-known figures, in the engrossing dialogue with Buschendorf, and in his insightful introduction and powerful closing essay, Cornel West takes an important step in rekindling the Black prophetic fire so essential in the age of Obama.

Breaking Bread

release date: Nov 10, 2016
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Breaking Bread
In this provocative and captivating dialogue, bell hooks and Cornel West come together to discuss the dilemmas, contradictions, and joys of Black intellectual life. The two friends and comrades in struggle talk, argue, and disagree about everything from community to capitalism in a series of intimate conversations that range from playful to probing to revelatory. In evoking the act of breaking bread, the book calls upon the various traditions of sharing that take place in domestic, secular, and sacred life where people come together to give themselves, to nurture life, to renew their spirits, sustain their hopes, and to make a lived politics of revolutionary struggle an ongoing practice. This 25th anniversary edition continues the dialogue with "In Solidarity," their 2016 conversation at the bell hooks Institute on racism, politics, popular culture and the contemporary Black experience.
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