Cornel West Matters: Rebellious Thoughts of a Jazz Infected Blues Saturated Philosopher

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by Mahamadou Lamine Sagna

A publication by Sociology and Political Science Professor Mahamadou Lamine Sagna is currently teasing the global intellectual community, with Harvard University’s Professor Henry Louis Gates praising it for passing the torch of knowledge from one generation to another.

Sagna’s new book Cornel West Matters delves into one of the world’s greatest Black philosophers

The book, Cornel West Matters, is a review of the titular philosopher’s seminal texts by Mahamadou Lamine Sagna, who has long been interested in the way Cornel West analyses politics, democracy, religion, and race and their intersections in America. It is also an analysis of the way West brings religion and music – particularly blues and jazz – into philosophy.

The author, Dr. Sagna said “Cornel West, one of America’s foremost intellectual voices, is also one of its most iconoclastic. It’s a conviction that can seem to contradict and frequently confounds. But from this complex clamor, I construct a melody”.

First released in French in 2016, this book was received favorably by French and Senegalese intellectuals including Alai Badiou, Edgar Morin, Stephane Douailler, Patrice Vermeren, Cheikh Hamidou Kane. Now translated to English by Arlette Afagbegee, a French cultural studies specialist, with an updated foreword, the book examines West’s ethics, convictions, and philosophical astuteness, while showcasing Sagna’s analytical finesse.

At a private reading with Cornel West and renowned author Dr. Lamina Sagna

Cornel West Matters was released in November 2019 and is now available in bookshops in the USA and on Amazon. Professor Sagna had a successful book signing tour with stops at The Africa Center in New York and at Harvard University in Boston.

The translation was already lauded in advance of its release, including from NYU Professor Anthony
Appiah. Appiah, a former Professor at Princeton University – where Sagna used to teach – said,
“Cornel West has had an extraordinary impact on American thought. The translation of this book will
help English-speaking readers to understand his impact beyond our shores.

Dr. Sagna demonstrates how, regardless of the immense price he might have to pay, West’s rebellious
thoughts are lessons of a unique philosophy with a global resonance despite their American focus. Wielding a distinctive mastery of philosophy, sociology, and political science, the author who is French-trained African sociologist examines Cornel West’s dialectic and articulates honest rhetoric on
racism, religion, violence, and democracy in America.

For the Princeton University English Professor Simon Gikandi, “A major achievement of this book is Sagna’s ability to interpret West’s philosophy and activism together as part of a larger meditation on
race and suffering and the continuous search for a humanism yet to come.”

The Columbia University Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne states “Sagna rightly emphasizes the
‘Socratic posture’ of Cornel West, because for West, love, as Sagna demonstrates, is fundamental for
society.”

Harvard Professor Gates, Jr. said, “In this undulating and joyful book, Mahamadou Lamine Sagna shows us how Cornel West illuminates obscurantism and contributes to transmit the torch of
knowledge from generation to generation. One experiences the expression of his wisdom, and the
nuances of his thinking, with awe.”

Dr. Maahamodou Lamine Sagna

Currently teaching at the American University of Nigeria, and serving as Associate Researcher at
Paris VII University’s Laboratory of Social and Political Change (LSCP), Dr. Mahamadou Lamine Sagna taught for more than a decade in the United States, including at Princeton University. His works focus on poverty and globalization. The new book Cornel West Matters can be accessed at www.amazon.com

Source: Alexandra Gekpe

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