Noam Chomsky, a world-renowned linguist, intellectual, and political activist, will be speaking at the University of Arizona. “An Evening with Noam Chomsky” will feature a talk on the state of higher education, followed by a question and answer session.
The lecture titled “Education for Whom and for What?” will be held on Feb. 8, 2012, at 7 p.m. on the University of Arizona campus in Centennial Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more details, go to http://web.sbs.arizona.edu/college/chomsky.
How do we characterize the contemporary state of the American education system? What happens to the quality of education when public universities become more privatized? Are public universities in danger of being converted into facilities that produce graduates-as-commodities for the job market? What is the role of activism in education? These are questions that Chomsky has been concerned with in recent years. With unprecedented tuition increases and budget struggles occurring across American campuses, these are questions that are more relevant than ever.
The Chomsky lecture kicks off an annual lecture series by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences — “The People College.” The event is co-sponsored by Confluence: Center for Creative Inquiry.
“In addition to our ‘SBS week,’ which includes a weeklong program on a topic, SBS is now offering an annual lecture by a prominent speaker,” said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “Noam Chomsky is not only a giant in the fields of linguistics and cognitive science, but is also a provocative and influential public figure.”
“The Confluence community is really excited about this event,” said director Javier D. Durán. “Noam Chomsky’s life-long trajectory as a scholar of language and as a committed public intellectual resonates highly with Confluence’s core values which emphasize creativity, innovation, collaboration and public engagement. We are delighted to co-sponsor his visit to Tucson.”
Chomsky was asked to come to the University of Arizona by Tom Bever, a UA Regents’ Professor of Linguistics, and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, a UA professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science. Both professors have been friends and colleagues with Chomsky for years.
Noam Chomsky is an Institute Professor and a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he worked for more than 50 years. Chomsky, who according to The New York Times is “arguably the most important intellectual alive,” is credited with revolutionizing the field of linguistics by introducing the Chomsky hierarchy, generative grammar, and the concept of a universal grammar, which underlies all human speech and is based in the innate structure of the mind/brain. Beyond linguistics, his work has influenced fields such as cognitive science, philosophy, computer science, mathematics, and psychology.
Noam Chomsky has received numerous awards, including the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal, the Dorothy Eldridge Peacemaker Award, and the Ben Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.
Over the years, Chomsky has been a profoundly influential voice, lecturing widely and publishing numerous books on U.S. foreign policy, Mideast politics, and related subjects. In fact, he’s been ranked with Marx, Shakespeare and Aristotle as one of the ten most quoted sources in the humanities, and is the only writer among them still alive.
In addition to the financial and organizational support provided by the Department of Linguistics, Chomsky’s visit is also underwritten by contributions from the College of Education, Elise Collins Shields and Creston Shields, and the Arizona Additional support comes from the School of Anthropology, the Department of Computer Science, the Cognitive Science Program, the Department of Communication, the School of Geography and Development, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the School of Government and Public Policy, the Department of History, the College of Humanities, the School of Journalism, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, the Department of Psychology, the Department of Sociology, and UA BookStores.
Notes: Backpacks, cameras or signs will not be allowed into the Centennial hall. Parking is available on a pay-per-use basis in the Tyndall Avenue Garage, 880 E. Fourth St.
Second Lecture: Noam Chomsky will also be giving an academic lecture titled “What is Special About Language?” on Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center, North Ballroom.
Contact: Lori Harwood, director of external relations for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 520-626-3846, email@example.com; or Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, professor of linguistics and cognitive science, 520-626-6913, firstname.lastname@example.org (Media interested in interviewing Professor Chomsky should email Chomsky@mit.edu)