UA Spring Politics Course Co-taught by Noam Chomsky Offered to Students and Community

How To Sign Up!

On Nov. 29, community members can sign up for the class through our SBS Community Classroom website!


This spring, students of all ages will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss politics with one of the greatest public intellectuals of our time, Noam Chomsky.

This spring, UA Professors Noam Chomsky and Marv Waterstone will teach the course POL 150C2: “What is Politics?” to undergraduate students and community members.

Chomsky, who joined the UA faculty this fall, is a laureate professor in the Department of Linguistics in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He is also the Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice. Considered the founder of modern linguistics, Chomsky is one of the most influential public intellectuals in the world and one of the most cited scholars in modern history. Chomsky has written more than 100 books, his most recent being Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power. An ardent free speech advocate, Chomsky has published and lectured widely on U.S. foreign policy, Mideast politics, terrorism, democratic society and war.

Waterstone is professor emeritus of geography at the University of Arizona. He is also the former director of the UA Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies. His research and teaching focus on the Gramscian notions of hegemony and common sense, and their connections to social justice and progressive social change. His most recent coauthored book is Geographic Thought: A Praxis Perspective.

“What is Politics?” is a 3-unit, general education course. In this hybrid class, students meet for 7.5 weeks (Jan. 11 to March 2) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and complete additional online assignments. Discussion sections will be held at various times on Fridays. The course includes an Honors section, which meets on Wednesdays from 11-11:50 a.m., in which students participate in small-group discussions led by Chomsky and Waterstone.

This course also provides an opportunity for community members to learn alongside undergraduate UA students. Connecting students from multiple generations and political outlooks, this course aims to stimulate ideas, debate and dialogue. On Nov. 29, community members can sign up for the class through SBS Community Classroom.

In the course, Chomsky and Waterstone will look at urgent contemporary issues and place them in their historical and conceptual contexts. The course examines industrial state capitalism as the dominant organizing principle of our economy and society. Students will interrogate some of the most significant consequences of this orientation, including climate change, social inequality, potential nuclear terrorism, and the expansion of militarism and warfare. Students also will investigate the achievements and difficulties involved with working for progressive change.

This is the second year the UA has offered this course to UA students and the community. Last year, the course filled in record time (with one community member making a 12-hour commute each week to attend the class.)

Enrico Trevisani, who is majoring in political science, took the course last spring. "The opportunity to engage in a thought-provoking dialogue with one of the leading intellectuals of all time is one I will hold with me for decades to come,” Trevisani said. “Professor Chomsky's holistic approach to synthesizing incredibly complex ideas and concepts made each class captivating. His passion for educating is made obvious to every student he works with.”

“The approval ratings for the class were exceptional – over 90 percent – and the comments have helped them to design an even better class for this spring,” said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

This year’s class will provide more opportunity for interaction among the students. After the lecture portion of the class, students will assemble into pre-assigned small groups composed of both UA undergraduates and community members. The groups will formulate questions for Professors Chomsky and Waterstone and for other groups.

“It is our hope that these small groups will enhance opportunities for cross-population conversations, and allow us to take full advantage of the multi-generational perspectives that will be represented in the class,” said Waterstone.

Students taking the course should look forward to a unique experience.

“Whether you agree with Chomsky’s views or not, the course is a rare opportunity to discuss politics with one of the most influential thinkers of the past century,” Jones said.


Published Date: 

11/13/2017 - 3:31pm