Loyola University Chicago

Interdisciplinary Honors Program

Professor Spotlight - Dr. Katz

Dr. Claudio Katz, the director of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program, answers the questions you have been wanting to hear!

Dr. Claudio Katz - Director and Professor in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program

Interview: February, 2017

1. Where was that picture taken?

 Outside the Church of San Marco, in Florence, Italy, where the Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola, preached. 

2. Does it have any special significance?

 Honors students know two things about me:  I hound them all to study abroad, and I give the first set of lectures – on Niccolò Machiavelli – in the Freshman Seminar, Spring Semester.  Savonarola appears in Machiavelli’s The Prince, chapter VI. 

3. Where did you attend college? And what did you major in?

Undergraduate:  Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Graduate:  York University, Toronto, Canada

Undergraduate major:  good question.  I started out as a major in Mathematics, but recognized a semester later that I didn’t have the talent for it.  I bounced around a bit until I settled on an “Independent Studies Major,” a made-up category that required a lengthy thesis as a graduation requirement.  I wrote a thesis on two nineteenth century German political theorists -- Hegel and Marx.

4. Did you always want to be a professor? If not, what was your original, intended career?

 I was still bouncing, with little sense of direction, when I graduated from Indiana University.  My undergraduate advisor took me out for a drink (yes, I was 21) and suggested I attend graduate school in Canada.  Sure, why not?  Seriously.

5. Who is your favorite author?

Shakespeare (I am a professor!).

Favorite political theorist (my area of expertise):  John Stuart Mill

6. What was your favorite movie growing up? And what is it now?

 Growing up:  probably Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (although I’m sure I didn’t understand what it meant); that, and Bugs Bunny cartoons.

 Now:   My favorite American movie is Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17; it is in my view a quintessential American movie.  I also very much like Vittorio de Sica’s In the Garden of the Finzi-Contini (and his Bicycle Thief) and the Argentinian movie, The Secret in their Eyes (El Secreto de sus Ojos).    I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 And, of course, Star Wars, Episode V, which everyone knows is the best.           

7. What is one thing you are really passionate about? 

 Corny but true:  teaching.

8. What is something students can do to help you out as a professor?

 Yes, talk to me.

9. What is your favorite thing about Loyola?

 Again, corny but true:   its commitment to justice.

10. Where is your favorite vacation spot and who do you go with?

 Easy:  Spain (one of our twin daughters lives and works in Madrid).  My wife and I travel to Spain as often as we can.