Cornel West, a philosopher and scholar of African-American studies, speaks today.

Many have taught at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

But today, UniverCity will feature a speaker who has taught at all three.

Cornel West, African-American social activist and philosopher, will speak at 4 p.m. at the Forum Tent.

"West is probably the most popular American philosopher of all time," said philosophy professor Daphne Rolle.

Rolle said West is also knowledgeable about sociology and economics.

"He is the first person one would call about the political or social climate in the U.S.," Rolle said.

Rolle said West has made an impact in the study of topics such as race theory and the philosophy of religion.

"There is an overlap with the topics that focuses on our obligation to conduct ourselves in a certain way," Rolle said.

West graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude and earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Princeton in 1980. In 1996, he was awarded the James Madison Medal, a Princeton honor for graduate alumni.

West has also served as a visiting professor at many universities, including Union Theological Seminary and Yale University.

West served as professor of religion and director of the program of African-American Studies at Princeton from 1988 to 1994. He was then a professor of religion and director of Afro-American Studies at Harvard, teaching both introductory and advanced courses.

In April 2002, West was appointed to Princeton's African-American Studies program, following alleged controversy regarding his position at Harvard.

According to USA Today, West had a falling-out with Harvard president Lawrence Summers. The conflict reportedly surfaced because West recorded a rap CD in 2001 and was involved in the presidential campaigns of Bill Bradley and Al Sharpton.

West's CD, "Sketches of Culture," features his lyrics regarding racial relations. The album features rap, jazz, rhythm and blues as background to West's spoken words.

In addition, West has authored numerous books on race issues. His most popular book, "Race Matters," has sold nearly 400,000 copies.


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