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College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Meet Zanja Yudell, Philosophy Department Chair

Zanja Yudell new Philosophy Chair

Zanja Yudell, the newly appointed Department Chair of the Philosophy Department, grew up in Venice, Los Angeles. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his PhD at Columbia University. Prior to teaching at Chico State, he taught at both The New School and Columbia in New York City.

When asked why he decided to teach at Chico State, Zanja shared that because Chico was in California, he’d be only a few hours from friends and he’d know more people. He also enjoys how big the Chico State campus is.

Teaching at Chico State has given Zanja the opportunity to work with many first generation college students and he finds it amazing how excited students are to learn new things. He says students are really enthusiastic and form, in his experience, a nice community with each other and it’s gratifying to be a part of that.

Zanja is teaching two courses this semester: Intermediate Logic, a class for Philosophy majors, which is almost like a math class that teaches symbolic logic and basics that are essential for contemporary philosophy, and The Honors Survey of Civilization, an approved University Honors in General Education course which consists mostly of first-year students and is an interdisciplinary kind of look at the history of humanity.

Zanja believes that Philosophy is great for students who enjoy deep questions like “what is the meaning of life?” and want to think abstractly and challenge what is commonly accepted. A common misconception is that Philosophy is impractical and that Philosophy students are not desired in the working world or do not do well financially, which is false.

The Philosophy Honors Society, called Phi Sigma Tau, is open to anyone that wants to talk about cool and interesting ideas informally. It’s a great way to learn what philosophy is about and meet other students with similar interests.

To learn more about Philosophy, visit the department website.  

-- words by Delila Solomon, PR Intern, College of Humanities and Fine Arts