A Valley News Publication

Visiting professor Cornel West discusses an idea from W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk with his students. (Dartmouth College – Eli Burakian)

From Bill Platt, via Dartmouth College’s public relations page, last week:

Fresh from the streets of Charlottesville, Va., where he stood with activists and pastors against a rally of violent white supremacists, Cornel West stepped into a Dartmouth classroom to lead an exploration of W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of the ancient Greek idea of paideia.


“Paideia is the maturation of a soul, it is the critical cultivation of a mind, and it is the attempt to examine one’s own assumptions and presuppositions,” said the activist, social critic, and professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard Divinity School. West is a visiting professor for the summer term at Dartmouth, teaching “The Historical Philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois.”


Throughout his scholarly lecture and dialogue with students about Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, West wove in his witness to the deadly violence and racism he confronted in Charlottesville, where hundreds of white nationalists and neo-Nazis gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park.


“I’ve never seen that kind of hatred in its raw form, and I’ve been alive for a long time,” West said. But this is not some new phenomenon; Du Bois would not be surprised, West told his students. “The best of America ebbs and flows. The worst of America is always there—sometimes it flows.”

Read more.

And here is West on CNN, live from Hanover, earlier in the week last week.