The public intellectual, author and political activist will give a talk as part of Brown’s Politics in the Humanities lecture series.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —Cornel West, a prominent democratic intellectual and professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University, will visit Brown University on Tuesday, March 6, for a public presentation as part of the Politics in the Humanities lecture series.

West’s work is wide-ranging. He has written 20 books including the well-known “Race Matters,” published in 1993, as well as texts on philosophy, religion, African American studies and a many other topics. He has produced three spoken word albums, appeared in films and documentaries, and is a frequent guest commentator on broadcast news segments. His varied public-facing work is characterized on his website as an effort to communicate to a variety of publics to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Cornel West’s fundamental commitments as a scholar and as a political actor are to equality, prophetic voice and social responsibility,” said Bonnie Honig, a Brown professor of modern culture and media and political science who convenes the Politics in the Humanities series.

West is an especially forceful critic of neoliberalism, Honig said, an ideology she describes as characterized by a belief in minimal government accompanied by strong state actions — military intervention abroad, for example, or militarized practices of policing and imprisonment at home. 

“Dr. West works very much at the intersection of many approaches,” Honig said. “He exemplifies what Politics in the Humanities is trying to vivify at Brown: a conscientious and inspiring approach to philosophical and theological sources that can open our eyes to injustice and point us in a better direction, or toward better possibilities.”

West will be the sixth lecturer in Politics in the Humanities. The series features thinkers whose projects shed light on social and cultural phenomena, informing a deeper understanding of important developments in the world, Honig said, and is offered through the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, with support from the political science department.

The March 6 event at Brown will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Salomon Center for Teaching’s De Ciccio Family Auditorium. It is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. 

[Editor’s Note: Tickets sold out on Wednesday, Feb. 14, but registrations for the event waitlist continue to be accepted via the ticketing website. Unclaimed tickets will be released to the waitlist at 5:20 p.m., and those without a ticket may also go directly to Room 001 of the Salomon Center, where the talk will be simulcast. Members of the news media who wish to attend and cover West’s visit should contact Gillian Kiley at or (401) 863-7287.]