LATROBE, PA – Zena Hitz, author of “Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life,” is slated to deliver the keynote address at Saint Vincent College’s Philosophy Department Spring Colloquium on Saturday, April 2, at 7 p.m. in the Fred Rogers Center. Hitz’s lecture, titled “What is Work?” explores the cultural devaluing of true leisure and the misunderstanding that work is essentially for money, power and status.
Hitz is a tutor at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. She studied at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and the University of Chicago and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton. According to her website, “Lost in Thought” explores “the meaning and the value of learning for its own sake, through images and stories of bookworms, philosophers, scientists and other learners, both fictional and historical.”
The Colloquium, which is also part of the 2022 Associate for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) Undergraduate Conference, takes place on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, at Saint Vincent College. Ten Saint Vincent College students will be joined by 26 visiting students to present academic papers and engage in seminar discussion. This national conference will bring students to campus from Washington, DC; Ohio; Georgia; Mississippi; Texas; New Mexico and California.
The theme of the ACTC Undergraduate Conference is “Work, Leisure and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
From the ACTC Undergraduate Conference website, “The mark of a liberal art is that it is pursued for its own sake. Unlike work, which is ordered toward other ends such as production and profit, a liberal activity is in itself edifying and meaningful. In a word, it is leisurely. Thus, liberal arts education cultivates the habits necessary for liberty from ignorance and for truth, from the misery of life in the cave and for the happiness of seeing things as they are. This noble aim of liberal education is often co-opted for other purposes. Liberal arts colleges market themselves based on how well they prepare students for money-making and other servile ends rather than on how well they cultivate the leisure necessary for the life of the mind. Students are pressured to view college as unpaid work, padding their transcripts with multiple majors and minors in preparation for gainful employment. School (which derives from the Greek word for “leisure”) ought to be ordered toward the happiness that is the examined life, but this noble aim is usually observed in the breach. With a desire to encourage students to think on higher things, we invite submissions on core texts that help us to reflect on any aspect of our conference theme, “Work, Leisure and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Hitz’s lecture is free and open to the public; no prior registration is required.
Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and considering encouraging local COVID-19 trends, the College has recently adopted a mask-optional policy for all students, faculty, staff and visitors. Therefore, visitors to the College are invited to wear masks based on one’s personal level of risk. Should the CDC determine that the rate of transmission in Westmoreland County increases above LOW, mitigating measures may be re-implemented at the discretion of the College. For the latest information about these protocols, please visit https://www.stvincent.edu/resources/covid-19-updates/index.html.
PHOTO 1: Zena Hitz