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The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower
     

The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

by Robert F. Barsky
 

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Noam Chomsky as political gadfly, groundbreaking scholar, and intellectual guru: key issues in Chomsky’s career and the sometimes contentious reception to his ideas.

Overview

Noam Chomsky as political gadfly, groundbreaking scholar, and intellectual guru: key issues in Chomsky’s career and the sometimes contentious reception to his ideas.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With this study, Vanderbilt professor Barsky follows up Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, his first expository volume on the octogenarian MIT linguist-cum-political writer. It focuses on how Chomsky's political writings-often published in small venues and in reaction to developing events-get disseminated and used throughout the world. The result is an indirect approach to a compelling subject, namely, what areChomsky's politics, and what broader lessons can be drawn from them? Barsky begins by defining what he calls "the Chomsky effect," whereby Chomsky's ideas get distorted and argued about in degraded form, whether by bolsterers or naysayers, resulting not only in bad arguments, but in undeserved infamy for Chomsky. He tracks the effect through the academy, the radical left, legal studies, literature and media, and along the way provides very lucid commentary on, and summation of, Chomsky's ideas. That said, Barsky, like Chomsky himself, refuses to distill Chomsky's thoughts to sound bites as he sifts through all the claims and counterclaims. That may prove frustrating for some readers, but it is fully in the spirit of Chomsky's own work. (Oct.)

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Library Journal

Barsky (English, comparative literature, & French & Jewish studies, Vanderbilt Univ.; Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent) has written an evenhanded view of Chomsky's writings and thoughts. He works in the Chomsky tradition of radical politics and considers Chomsky a major figure in political thought and linguistic analysis. The key for Barsky in understanding his subject is to place him in the anarchist tradition. Chomsky considers himself a rationalist with roots in the French and Scottish Enlightenments, as distinct from postmodernity. Barsky fully explores the controversial nature of Chomsky's writings (the Robert Faurisson and Pol Pot discussions), the figures whose philosophies have influenced him (e.g., Wilhelm von Humboldt, Rudolph Rocker, and John Dewey), and his views and ideas on law, education, contemporary thought, literature, and computer science. He also covers Chomsky's own influence on popular culture, his humor, and his commitment to inspire people to think independently. Chomsky is an important figure in trying to evolve public thinking on justice, liberty, and national safety. His ideas are controversial, his writings powerful, and his thoughts essential to the national discussion. Recommended for political science collections.
—Gene Shaw

From the Publisher
"The insights into Chomsky as a person, notably in the many extracts from his correspondence and remarks by friends and colleagues, are fascinating." Raphael Salkie Times Higher Education Supplement

"This book should be read by anyone interested in the existing or potential role for public intellectuals in American societyand in politics,particularly." Richard C. Collins Virginia Quarterly Review

Times Higher Education Supplement - Raphael Salkie
The insights into Chomsky as a person, notably in the many extracts from his correspondence and remarks by friends and colleagues, are fascinating.

Virginia Quarterly Review - Richard C. Collins
This book should be read by anyone interested in the existing or potential role for public intellectuals in American society and in politics,particularly.

Political Studies Review - Shih-Yu Chou
Barsky does a spectacular job of offering an essential introduction to Chomsky's works.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262261982
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
09/18/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

What People are Saying About This

Professor Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments - Carlos P. Otero
This is the book I'd recommend to anyone who is looking for exhaustive coverage of ways to Chomsky's work.

Julius H. Grey
Robert Barsky succeeds in uniting the various strands in Chomsky's career teaching, political theory, philosophy, and public debate. Chomsky"s success constitutes definitive proof that an intellectual can be an activist and that every society needs a Socrates to shame it. Barsky has produced a work of homage to learning and to personal courage.

Julius Grey
"Robert Barsky succeeds in uniting the various strands in Chomsky's career—teaching, political theory, philosophy, and public debate. Chomsky's successconstitutes definitive proof that an intellectual can be an activist andthat every society needs a Socrates to shame it. Barsky has produced a workof homage to learning and to personal courage."—Julius H. Grey, Constitutional lawyer, Former member of McGill Faculty of Law

Marcus Raskin
The Chomsky Effect by Robert Barsky is a magnificent book showing Chomsky as the leading linguist of our time; the philosopher whose analytic powers and prophetic vision are unparalleled, yet matched only by his moral and ironic outrage which draws intellectual blood from his adversaries. Barsky's significant accomplishment is to add his deep learning in the history of comparative ideas and popular culture with his own incisive and readable accounts of crucial intellectual and political battles that dictate the present and probable future. A wonderful read.

From the Publisher
"This is the book I"d recommend to anyone who is looking for exhaustive coverage of ways to Chomsky"s work."Carlos P. Otero , Professor Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments

Meet the Author

Robert F. Barsky is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, French, and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent (MIT Press, 1997).

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