“You’ve got to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer. A thermostat shapes the climate of opinion; a thermometer just reflects it.“
This is the call for action from Dr Cornel West – philosopher, academic, social theorist, educator, author, and poet – who brought his intellectual locomotive to Australia in 2015.
A Harvard graduate in his Bachelor’s degree, and the first African-American to graduate from Princeton University with a PhD in Philosophy, West has spent his life – personal and professional – breaking down the social barriers which have disenfranchised minority groups for decades, if not centuries.
Across penning and contributing to over twenty published books (including Race Matters (1994) and Democracy Matters (2004)), receiving over twenty honorary degrees and an American Book Award, frequently featuring as media commentator on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News, and releasing three spoken word albums with a slew of impressive collaborations, West effortlessly balances himself on the tightrope between education and entertainment, remaining an inspiration to millions as a figure who beat the social odds that were stacked against him.
In a rare engagement with one of the leading acclaimed intellectuals of the 20th and 21st century, West brought to Australia his mission of progressing a culture of critical thought which questions and challenges the status quo of current sociopolitical landscapes, for generations that are not merely socially conscious, but socially involved.
Presented by Think Inc.
About Dr Cornel West
Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his MA and PhD in Philosophy at Princeton. He has taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. He has written 19 books and edited 13 books. He is best known for his classic Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his new memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span as well as on his dear Brother, Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show. He can be heard weekly with Tavis Smiley on "Smiley & West", the national public radio program distributed by Public Radio International (PRI).
He made his film debut in the Matrix – and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand. Last, he has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His recent spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best Jazz Album of the year of 2009), The Cornel West Theory’s Second Rome and the Raheem DeVaughn’s Love & War: Masterpeace. In short, Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.