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Noam Chomsky to examine state of Western democracy in thought-provoking public lecture

Professor Noam Chomsky

Professor Noam Chomsky will deliver his public lecture on Wednesday 10 May

World-renowned academic Professor Noam Chomsky will be visiting the University of Reading this May to give a lecture about the state of western democracy: Brexit, President Trump, other similar movements across Europe, and whether the “human experiment is doomed”.

Professor Chomsky, who will be awarded the Albert Wolters Distinguished Visiting Professorship, is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today. In a career of more than 60 years in academia, Chomsky has influenced the fields of psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and politics.

In ‘Racing for the Precipice: Is the Human Experiment Doomed?’ Professor Chomsky will discuss recent political movements as well as electoral outcomes such as the US presidential elections and Brexit and similar developments across Europe.  He will contextualize them in relation to human behaviour and what seems to him to be their broader – in fact, far broader – significance.

A noted critic President Trump, Professor Chomsky will be following the first 100 days of the 45th US President’s first term and will share his analysis as part of the lecture. 

Chomsky will be the latest high-profile speaker at the Albert Wolters Lecture, which has previously seen high profile linguistic academics Professor Steven Pinker and Professor Ellen Bialystok address audiences and be awarded a Distinguished Visiting Professorship recognising their influential role in their field.

Professor Jason Rothman, Professor of Literacy and Multilingualism, said:

“Whether or not one agrees with any particular ideas, nobody would deny the influence of Professor Chomsky’s work on literally hundreds of those of scholars throughout the world over the past six decades of his career. Without Professor Chomsky the fields of linguistics, cognitive science, psychology and political science would be very different from what we know them to be today. As far as academics go, he is the closest thing to a bona fide celebrity that we have.”

Professor Laurie Butler, head of the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, said:

“The Albert Wolters Annual Lecture has seen some of the finest minds in the field of linguistics visit the University of Reading to inspire future generations. With Professor Chomsky’s work in psychology and linguistics, it is a natural fit and a great honour to award him with a Distinguished Visiting Professorship from the University of Reading, with its leading role in psychology and clinical language sciences and our interdisciplinary approach to health research.”

The lecture takes place on Wednesday 10 May, Reading Town Hall, 7.30pm.

A registration system is in place to help meet the demand for tickets. To register your interest, visit

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