Karachi’s Habib University, in its 6th Yohsin Lecture series this year, has organized a session with world-famous philosopher, social critic, and political activist Noam Chomsky.
By Muzhira Amin
According to the varsity’s head of marketing and communications, Aqsa Junejo, the 91-year-old linguist confirmed his virtual presence at the event on Monday night. “The date of the session is yet to be confirmed and will be announced in the upcoming week.”
“The university has shortlisted three topics for Chomsky,” she told SAMAA Digital. “The final decision regarding the topic will be taken by him.”
Junejo said that the topic, too, will be revealed soon.
Chomsky has authored over 100 books on topics ranging from linguistics to politics to mass media. He is a Laureate Professor at the University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As a liberal school, Habib University teaches Noam Chomsky in a number of courses and programmes. Some of these include philosophy, communication and culture, political philosophy, international political economy, and development and social change.
“Apart from elective courses, Chomsky is taught in core courses at the university as well,” Hashim, a bachelor’s student at the varsity said.
“So the excitement is mutual amongst all the students,” he remarked. “We can’t even register the fact that a legend like Chomsky will be speaking at an event here [the university].”
A student of engineering, Hashim loves reading Chomsky’s books and calls himself a fan of his work. “I have my list of questions for him already prepared,” he said.
According to Hashim, his question for the writer will be: What is your current opinion on the idea of universal grammar in the 21st century and its implications on postmodernization?
Another popular topic that students of the varsity expect to bring up is freedom of speech. The students said that in the current landscape, both nationally and internationally, incidents have surfaced where freedom to put forward ideas and opinions has been curbed.
Chomsky has always been an advocate of freedom of speech. His saying, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all,” proves it.
Given the coronavirus pandemic, the event will be held virtually. People outside the university will also be allowed to attend it. Other details regarding registrations will be revealed by the management in a few days.
Junejo added that the Yohsin Lecture serves as a conduit for leading international scholars from across the world to come to Pakistan and engage with Habib University students as well as the public on wide-ranging topics of global importance.
Past speakers include Dr Munir Fasheh, renowned educationist, popular author Reza Azlan and Dr Vali Nasr, former Dean for School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Originally published at Samaa tv