Charles A. McCoy Career Achievement Award

The Charles A. McCoy Career Achievement Award recognizes a progressive political scientist who has had a long, successful career as a writer, teacher and activist.

2021 Recipient:
Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary

2021 Committee:
Rosalind Petchesky (chair), Laura Olson, Terrell Carver, F. Peter Wagner

Cornel West (b. 1953) is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor at Union Theological Seminary and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He is also a member of the New Political Science Editorial Board.

Professor West has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies. In addition to these many academic and intellectual achievements, Professor West has for many years been a widely heralded voice for social justice in major public media and appeared in numerous documentaries and films as well as being a performer and producer of spoken word albums. In this way, he has brought his political and social ideas into the mainstream of popular culture.

In short, Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice. In a time of massive reckoning with racial injustice, both in this country and worldwide, we selected Professor West to receive the Charles A. McCoy Career Achievement Award because we felt that better than anyone we know, he represents a lifetime of writing, speaking out, and collective action to make political ideas effective instruments of social change. His work fully embodies the spirit of the Charles A. McCoy Award and the Caucus for a New Political Science.

Past Recipients
2020: Rosalind Petchesky, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
2019: Joseph Schwartz, Temple University
2018: Cynthia Enloe, Clark University
2017: Mark Kesselman, Columbia University
2016: V. Spike Peterson, University of Arizona

Additional Recipients »

Manal Ahmad Jamal accepts the award on behalf of Joseph Schwartz, presented by Cynthia Enloe.

Deadline for nominations: April 1, 2022

Award Committee

Laura Katz Olson, Chair Lehigh University
William Sokoloff University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley
Mary Witlacil Colorado State University
Cornel West (honorary) Union Theological Seminary