For Immediate Release
Further Information: Contact Joseph Giomboni
Public Relations Office, (570) 208-5958
August 2, 2011 - King’s College has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Enduring Questions Program to develop and teach a course examining the value of work. Jonathan Malesic, associate professor of theology at King’s, will serve as project director for the nearly $25,000 grant. He has developed and will teach the course during each semester of the upcoming academic year.
King’s received one of only 16 grants awarded for the 2011-12 academic year from among more than 225 applications submitted by colleges and universities throughout the United States. The Enduring Question Program was established by the NEH in 2009 to encourage undergraduates and teachers to grapple with fundamental questions addressed by the humanities to which no academic discipline, field, or profession can lay an exclusive claim.
“My interest in the subject dates back 12 years to when I was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Virginia,” said Malesic. “A professor in a religious ethics course began a discussion with students about the moral meaning of work and leisure and I could see it had a profound effect on those students.
“College students are in a unique position to consider the value of work, as they are both preparing for professions and gaining the knowledge appropriate to leisurely reflection on life,” added Malesic.
As part of the King’s core liberal arts curriculum, the course will be available to students of all academic majors and will examine the value of work from multi-disciplinary angles, including economics, political science, philosophy, religion, and history. Four distinct historical periods in Western culture will be examined; ancient Mediterranean (6th century BC to 2nd century AD), medieval and early modern Europe (6th to 16th centuries), the Enlightenment period (17th to 19th centuries), and the modern age (19th to 21st centuries).
The diverse reading list for the course includes selections from the Bible, Plato, Geoffrey Chaucer, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Booker T. Washington, and Henry David Thoreau. The fall course is close to its 18-student capacity. Students currently enrolled in the class represent at least 10 academic majors.
Students will also examine work as it is portrayed in various films and will visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art to examine a collection of work by the late 19th-early 20th century American painter Thomas Eakins, who specialized early in his career on scenes of leisure but later painted many portraits of professionals with the tools of their trades.
A faculty member at King’s since 2005, Malesic also teaches courses on the history of Christian thought and in systematic and moral theology. He has written several essays for the “Chronicle of Higher Education,” as well as articles on Christian thought and modern secular philosophy for the academic journals “International Journal for Philosophy of Religion” and “Journal of the American Academy of Religion.”
His book “Secret Faith in the Public Square: An Argument for the Concealment of Christian Identity,” was awarded a gold medal in the religion category of the Book of the Year Awards presented by “ForeWord Reviews” in 2010.