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Why Work?

Dr. Jonathan Malesic

Many of us are conflicted about work. We expect it to fulfill us, but we also hate our jobs. This conflict sparks questions that touch on the highest ideals about the purpose of our lives. Does each person have a calling—some line of work for which they are naturally suited? Who are we working for—our bosses, ourselves, our society? Which is more important, work or leisure? Should you aim to do what you love? Or is a job just a job, and fulfillment something to seek elsewhere? These questions are worth taking seriously. And if work truly is harmful to our life’s meaning, then the class itself, as a space for the leisurely exchange of ideas for their own sake, may be the right cure.

Four Thursdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm: September 7 to 28
Tuition: Nonmembers $125; member discounts starting at $110

Class Syllabus for Why Work | Class Materials page [password protected]

Reading list

Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture (Ignatius)
Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Princeton Classic Edition)
Miya Tokumitsu, Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness (Regan Arts)
Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (Norton Critical Edition)

Note: There are many editions available of Walden and Up from Slavery. Feel free to use whichever edition is most convenient for you.

About the instructor

f17profs-malesicJonathan Malesic, Ph.D., is an award-winning author, scholar, and teacher of religion and philosophy. He holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia and taught at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for 11 years before moving to Dallas. His essays on the meaning of work have appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, America, Commonweal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wilson Quarterly, and several academic journals. His teaching and research on this topic have been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Louisville Institute. As a former professor and parking lot attendant, he has experienced a wide range of what work offers people today.


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