In a special edition of “The Tight Rope,” Dr. Cornel West speaks freely about his “ridiculous situation at Harvard” with respect to his being denied tenure at the institution. Join Dr. West and professor Tricia Rose for a conversation as they reveal some of the possible underlying reasons for the rejection and as they dredge up the bedrock systemic issues at play in higher education. “The Tight Rope” just got a lot tighter!
In an interview for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dr. West spoke with Max Alvarez, our editor-in-chief here at The Real News Network about the situation with Harvard. In that conversation, they also explored the value of platforms like “The Tight Rope” and The Real News for critically engaged intellectuals, inside and outside the academy:
Maximillian Alvarez: Harvard seems intent on pitting your public work against your academic work, as if one is more valuable or “legitimate” than the other. After this latest battle with Harvard, do you think it’s fair to say that the university will simply not make space for scholars or scholarship that are truly public?
Cornel West: I want to make it clear that big money and prestigious professorships (without tenure or through the back door) at Harvard can never replace genuine respect. So, a free Black man like me has no place at Harvard, and Harvard does not deserve those few free spirits still there. Yet Harvard can change if it chooses to do so!
Thanks to my dear brother, Jeremy Berry—the visionary creator of “The Tight Rope” podcast—professor Tricia Rose and I have weekly opportunities to intervene into public life in the form of serious and substantive discussions about crucial issues of our day. There are always some spaces and pockets within any commodified and bureaucratized site for our commitment to the life of the mind and changing the world, but they seem to be shrinking at the present moment, and the lethal combination of disrespect of Black scholars and others and curtailing robust inquiry about taboo issues must be confronted and transformed…
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Creator/EP: Jeremy Berry
EP/Host: Cornel West
EP/Host: Tricia Rose
Producers: Allie Hembrough, Ceyanna Dent
Beats x Butter (IG: @Butter_Records)