What Is Politics?

Humanities Seminars Course

What Is Politics?

Professor Emeritus Marvin Waterstone
MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky
Past Course
TUESDAYS 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. AND THURSDAYS 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. January 12 - March 2, 2017.
Environmental and Natural Resources Building 2 (ENR2), Room N120



This spring students of all ages will have the exciting opportunity to learn about and discuss politics with one of the greatest public intellectuals of our time, Noam Chomsky. Chomsky and UA emeritus professor Marv Waterstone will coteach a seven-week class titled “What Is Politics?” that is both a general education course for UA undergraduates and a Humanities Seminar class for community members. Connecting students from multiple generations and political outlooks, this course is sure to stimulate ideas, debate, and dialogue.

The course examines industrial state capitalism as the dominant organizing principle of our economy. Throughout the course students will interrogate the consequences of this orientation, including threats to the human species such as climate change, potential nuclear terrorism, and the expansion of militarism and warfare. These consequences also encompass the less spectacular, but nevertheless devastating, effects of globalization and unfettered capitalism on social inequality. At the heart of the class students will explore possible responses and resistances to these phenomena, and will investigate the achievements and difficulties involved with agitating for progressive change.

What You Need to Know

Where:  Environmental and Natural Resources Building 2 (ENR2), Room N120.  This room is a large auditorium.  It is wheelchair accessible and has an assisted listening system.

Parking: The Sixth Street Garage is immediately east of the classroom building.  The garage is on the south side of the campus between Park and Highland Avenues. The hourly charge is $2 before 5 PM and $1 after 5 PM.

Tuesday Class Overview:  The Tuesday lectures will be conducted by Professor Waterstone and will present a theoretical, conceptual, and historical contextualization of the week's topic.

Thursday Class Overview:  Professor Chomsky will use concrete examples (mostly drawn from the news to provide "real life" lenses) to illustrate the concepts articulated on Tuesday, after which there will be a Q & A with Professor Chomsky and a UA faculty expert on that particular topic.

Reading and Syllabus:  Detailed reading assignments and a finalized syllabus will be available closer to the beginning of the course.  The readings for adult students can be accessed online in early January.  Printed material will not be available.

REGISTRATION FOR THIS CLASS ONLY begins on Thursday, November 17, at 8 AM and continues throughout the registration period until the class is full.



MARV WATERSTONE is Professor Emeritus of geography at the University of Arizona. He is also the former director of the University of Arizona 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.

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NOAM CHOMSKY is a world-renowned linguist, public intellectual and political activist. Since 1955, Chomsky has taught at MIT, where he was appointed Institute Professor in 1976. He is the author of more than 100 books and articles on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history and social and political issues. Chomsky is one of the most cited scholars in modern history.

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