What is Politics?

Pieces on chess board

Class Dates

January 16, 2020 to March 05, 2020

Meeting Days

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.


ENR2 (UA Campus)



Course Instructor(s)

Chomsky and UA emeritus professor Marv Waterstone will co-teach this seven-week class that is both a general education course for UA undergraduates and open to the life-long learners from the public. Connecting students from multiple generations and political outlooks, this course is sure to stimulate ideas, debate, and dialogue.

In this fourth iteration of the course, Chomsky and Waterstone will look at urgent contemporary issues and place them in their historical and conceptual contexts. The course will examine industrial state capitalism as the dominant organizing principle of our economic and political lives. Students will interrogate some of the most significant consequences of organizing society this way, including climate change, social inequality, potential nuclear terrorism, and the expansion of militarism and warfare. Additionally, through twice-weekly visits with guest activists and practitioners, students will investigate the achievements and difficulties involved in working for progressive change.

Every class there will be a lecture of about one hour or so, followed by a 25-30 minute break for small group interactions. The final 30 minutes of each class will be devoted to presentations by invited activists/practitioners. Professor Waterstone will lecture every Tuesday and Professor Chomsky will lecture every Thursday.

Readings and Syllabus

Once registered, you will receive access to all the posted readings. Unlike your fellow UA students, you do not take quizzes and write papers and can go through the readings at your own choice and pace.

Attendance & Participation

Please be aware that unregistered guests are not able to attend class meetings. Due to safety and security protocols, only registered UA students and Community Classroom students as well as registered guests will be allowed inside the classroom.

Community members may attend one class session without charge. 

If you are interested, please contact Kerstin Miller at (520) 621-5111 or sbs-communitymatters@email.arizona.edu at least one day before the class meeting.


Online registration for this course opens on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at 10 a.m.

Refunds are available and need to be requested before or by January 22. To drop a class, please contact Kerstin Miller at 520-621-5111 or sbs-communitymatters@email.arizona.edu. A $25 administrative fee for each cancellation will apply.

Location & Parking

Class meets in the Environmental and Natural Resources Building 2 (ENR2), Room N120. This large auditorium is wheelchair accessible and has an assisted listening system.

Parking is available in the Sixth Street Garage, 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 5pm and $1 after 5pm. Please be aware that higher flat-rate fees may apply on game days or on the days of other special events. 

After 5 pm you may also park for free in any of the South of Sixth Street surface lots.