Jacob entered the program in 2012, and is currently at work on a dissertation tentatively titled, “Leisure: Ancient and Modern.” He argues that the tensions between “noble” leisure and “dignified” labor encapsulate many of the controversies between and within ancient and modern political thought. The project seeks to, first, define and analyze leisure at its peak, which is found in the work of Aristotle. Next, Jacob examines the loss and forgetting of leisure by looking to Locke’s rejection of it in favor of work and labor. Rather than focus on Locke’s elevation of labor through the freeing of property acquisition and making labor the legitimate origin of property, the project uniquely focuses on Locke’s ethical and epistemological defenses of labor. The dissertation concludes by pointing to ways in which various strands of American political thought incorporate Locke’s moral and political arguments for labor, and addresses ways in which modern and contemporary life might still encompass substantive experiences of leisure despite labor’s ascent. This is accomplished through a critical study of contemporary understandings of vocation.
When not writing or teaching, you may find Jacob “researching” methods of leisure as he takes to fly-fishing in the streams of northern Michigan. If you do not find him there, he will likely be hard at work defeating his colleagues at basketball or racquetball.