The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

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MIT Press, Jan 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 381 pages
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"People are dangerous. If they're able to involve themselves in issues thatmatter, they may change the distribution of power, to the detriment of those who are rich andprivileged."--Noam ChomskyNoam Chomsky has been praised by the likes of Bono and Hugo Chávezand attacked by the likes of Tom Wolfe and Alan Dershowitz. Groundbreaking linguist and outspokenpolitical dissenter--voted "most important public intellectual in the world today" in a2005 magazine poll--Chomsky inspires fanatical devotion and fierce vituperation. In The ChomskyEffect, Chomsky biographer Robert Barsky examines Chomsky's positions on a number of highly chargedissues--Chomsky's signature issues, including Vietnam, Israel, East Timor, and his work inlinguistics---that illustrate not only "the Chomsky effect" but also "the Chomskyapproach." Chomsky, writes Barsky, is an inspiration and a catalyst. Not just an analyst oradvocate, he encourages people to become engaged--to be "dangerous" and challenge powerand privilege. The actions and reactions of Chomsky supporters and detractors and the attendingcontentiousness can be thought of as "the Chomsky effect." Barsky discusses Chomsky's workin such areas as language studies, media, education, law, and politics, and identifies Chomsky'sintellectual and political precursors. He charts anti-Chomsky sentiments as expressed from variousstandpoints, including contemporary Zionism, mainstream politics, and scholarly communities. Hediscusses Chomsky's popular appeal--his unlikely status as a punk and rock hero (Eddie Vedder ofPearl Jam is one of many rock and roll Chomskyites)--and offers in-depth analyses of thecontroversies surrounding Chomsky's roles in the "Faurisson Affair" and the "Pol PotAffair." Finally, Barsky considers the role of the public intellectual in order to assess whyNoam Chomsky has come to mean so much to so many--and what he may mean to generations to come.RobertF. Barsky is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, French, and Jewish Studies at VanderbiltUniversity. He is the author of Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent (MIT Press), Constructing aProductive Other, Introduction à la théorie littéraire, and Arguing and Justifying. He is currentlycompleting a book on Zellig Harris, for The MIT Press.


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The Chomsky effect: a radical works beyond the ivory tower

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review

Review: The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

there is some good stuff here about Uncle Noam, but it's a rather dry read. he spends a few overly-long chapters on controversies that could be cleared up quickly, as well as the way Noam has ... Read full review


I Dissent
1 The Chomsky Effect Within and Beyond the Ivory Tower
2 Resisting and Reviling the Chomsky Effect
Anarchists Cartesians Liberals and the Radical Left
II Milieus
Chomsky on Law Ethics and Human Rights
From Catalyst to Institute Professor
Media Propaganda and Postmodern Language Studies
7 Literature Humor and the Effects of Creative Discourses
8 The Effective Public Intellectual

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About the author (2007)

Robert F. Barsky is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of Constructing a Productive Other: Discourse Theory and the Convention Refugee Hearings, Introduction a la theorie litteraire, and Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent.

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