The American population’s love of sport is matched only by the belief that it is an area not worthy of deeper thought, inquiry, or critique. This course seeks to understand this seemingly paradoxical notion that sport is both one of most powerful and least respected institutions in the modern world. To do so we will begin by working through theoretical approaches that give us a way to make sense of these paradoxes and the phenomenon of sport itself. We will then examine the way sport intersects with and shapes our understanding of important social issues like gender, race, politics, and the human body. During the course we will discuss (and watch documentaries) on a wide-range of sports and physical practices ranging from the mainstream (e.g., basketball), the alternative (e.g., roller derby), the artistic (e.g., dance), and the extreme (e.g., base-jumping). Students will be asked to critically reflect on their own experience playing, observing, or even disliking sport as a way to relate to the themes we read and discuss. By the end of the semester, I hope you find Sport & Society to be one of the most enjoyable and useful courses you take during your time in college.
* This is a survey course. We cannot cover all of the important theories related to physical practice, read all the great readings on sport, or discuss every exciting topic. However, if there is a particular topic or theory that excites you, let me know and I can either work it into class or recommend further reading.