Cornel West has been a prominent figure in left-wing politics, focusing on issues of race, gender, and class in American society. He draws intellectual contributions from various traditions, including Christianity, Marxism, neopragmatism, and transcendentalism.
West’s notable works include “Race Matters” (1993) and “Democracy Matters” (2004). In addition to his academic pursuits, West has held professorships and fellowships at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University, and Princeton University.
He is also a frequent commentator on politics and social questions in the media. Ronald West is an American philosopher, political activist, social critic, actor, and public intellectual. Let’s check out his full biography, early life, family background, career and personal life below.
Cornel West Biography
Cornel Ronald West was born on June 2, 1953, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Growing up in Sacramento, California, he attended John F. Kennedy High School. West’s parents played influential roles in his life.
His mother, Irene Rayshell Bias, was a teacher and principal, while his father, Clifton Louis Cornel West Jr., worked as a general contractor for the US Department of Defense.
His grandfather, Clifton L. Cornel West Sr., served as a pastor at the Tulsa Metropolitan Baptist Church. West’s upbringing in a religious household would shape his future endeavors.
After graduating from high school in 1970, Cornel West enrolled at Harvard College. During his time at Harvard, he studied under notable philosophers such as Robert Nozick and Stanley Cavell. In 1973, he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Near Eastern languages and civilization.
West credits Harvard with exposing him to a wide range of ideas and perspectives, including those of the Black Panther Party. His experiences with Christianity led him to work in local programs that focused on breakfast, prison, and church initiatives.
Following his undergraduate studies, West pursued further education at Princeton University. In 1980, he earned his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, becoming the first African American to graduate from Princeton with a PhD in philosophy.
West’s doctoral dissertation, supervised by Raymond Geuss and Sheldon Wolin, explored the ethical dimensions of Marxist thought. At Princeton, he was heavily influenced by Richard Rorty’s neopragmatism and maintained a close friendship with him for many years.
Current Wife and Children
In 2021, Cornel West married Annahita Mahdavi, and they have two children together. Their first child and only son, Clifton Louis, was born in 1977. Cornel West has been married four times, and his current wife is Annahita Mahdavi.
Annahita Mahdavi is a professor at Long Beach City College, where she teaches Human Services Addiction Studies. Recently, Cornel West introduced her at an event held at LBCC’s Pacific Coast Campus. During the event, she presented her latest poetry collection called “Dusty Relics” on May 4th, 2023.
Annahita Mahdavi has mentioned Cornel West in her tweets, including a tweet about his decision to run for the U.S. presidency. Additionally, according to a LinkedIn post by Annahita Mahdavi, Cornel West is one of the Black intellectuals leading MasterClass.
Ex-Wifes | Marriages
- Hilda Holloman
- Ramona Santiago
- Elleni Gebre Amlak
- Leslie Kotkin
Cornel West has been married multiple times. His ex-wives include Hilda Holloman, whom he married in 1977 and later divorced, and Ramona Santiago, whom he married in 1981 and divorced around 1986.
He also married Elleni Gebre Amlak in 1992, but they ended up divorcing. His most recent ex-wife is Leslie Kotkin, whom he married in 2015 and divorced in 2018.
Cornel West’s career encompasses academia, activism, and public discourse. Let’s explore his diverse contributions and accomplishments.
Academic Pursuits and Renowned Institutions
Cornel West has held professorships and fellowships at esteemed institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, and the University of Paris. His expertise spans various disciplines, including philosophy, political theory, theology, and cultural criticism.
Engaging in Activism and Social Commentary
Beyond academia, West has been actively involved in political and social activism. He co-hosted the radio program “Smiley and Cornel West” and has taken part in civil rights demonstrations and protests, advocating for causes like black studies courses and social justice.
His insightful perspectives on politics and social issues have been shared through various media outlets.
Broad Range of Contributions
West’s contributions extend beyond academia and activism. He has appeared in documentaries and Hollywood films like “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.” Additionally, he has released spoken word and hip hop albums, showcasing his artistic talents.
Thought-Provoking Conversations and Podcasts
West engages in thought-provoking discussions through platforms like podcasts. He co-hosts “The Tight Rope” podcast, exploring diverse topics with Tricia Rose.
Furthermore, his conversations with prominent conservative intellectual Robert P. George shed light on important subjects such as liberal arts education, free speech, and civil dialogue.
Championing Social Justice and Progressive Politics
West remains a vocal advocate for social justice and progressive politics. He actively participates in movements like Black Lives Matter, striving for police reform and an end to racial injustice. He criticizes systemic racism, economic inequality, and corporate influence in American society.
Scholarly Works and Intellectual Contributions
West’s scholarly works delve into the intersections of race, class, and power. Notable books like “Race Matters” and “Democracy Matters” explore racial inequality in America and the crisis of democracy.
His intellectual prowess and ability to bridge academia and public engagement have made him a significant figure in contemporary discourse.
Influential Presence and Popularity
West’s impact reaches beyond academia and politics. He has made appearances on talk shows, news programs, and documentaries, captivating audiences with his passionate speaking style.
His lectures and speeches at universities and events worldwide have solidified his reputation as a sought-after public speaker.
|Cornel Ronald West
|Date of Birth
|June 2, 1953
|Sacramento, California, United States
|Philosopher, Political Activist, Public Intellectual
|Harvard University, Princeton University, Union Theological Seminary
|Race Matters, Democracy Matters, Black Prophetic Fire
|Annahita Mahdavi (m. 2021)
In terms of net worth, Cornel West is estimated to have a net worth of around $1 million.
FAQs (frequently asked questions)
Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Cornel West along with their answers:
How old is Cornel West?
Cornel West was born on June 2, 1953. As of June 2023, he is 70 years old.
Who is Cornel West’s wife?
Cornel West’s current wife is Annahita Mahdavi, whom he married in 2021.
How many children does Cornel West have?
Cornel West has two children. His first child is a son named Clifton Louis, born in 1977. Information about his second child is not available.
What is Cornel West’s ethnicity?
Cornel West is African American.
What is Cornel West’s nationality?
Cornel West is an American.
Who are Cornel West’s parents?
Cornel West’s father is Clifton L. West, Jr., who was a civilian Air Force administrator. His mother is Irene Bias West, who was an elementary school teacher and later principal.
Please note that the information provided in this article is based on the available information on the internet and may be subject to change or further updated. You can also check out the full Wikipedia biography and net worth of Matt Shirvington.