We examine the historical development of sports in the United States from a societal and cultural viewpoint. The course provides opportunity to examine the relationship between sports and nationalism, sports and politics, sports and the economy, sports and society change, sports and gender, and sports and American expansion.
Course contents include lecture, secondary readings, primary source readings, and film. We will examine the gradual development of an American sports culture and the changing attitudes towards sports. Emphasize will be given to early sports culture, including blood sports, and particularly to the creation and development of baseball, pugilism (boxing, college football, and basketball within the American context.
Knowledge of sports is not a prerequisite for the course. This syllabus is subject to change.
“Puritans and Sport: The Irretrievable Tide of Change” Nancy Struna, Journal of Sport 4 1977
Excerpt from Ken Burn’s “Baseball” documentary
“ATHLETIC SPORTS” The Albion, A Journal of News, Politics and Literature (1822-1876); Apr 5, 1873
“The Rise and Fall of the Flying Wedge: Football’s Most Controversial Play” Scott A. McQuikin and Ronald A. Smith, Journal of Sports History 20 (Spring 1993)
Women and Basketball (and Bicycles) “American Women and Sport” Jane Curry and Marjorie Bingham, OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 7, No. 1, History of Sport, Recreation, and Leisure (Summer, 1992), pp. 39-49
“The Importance of Muhammad Ali” Thomas Hauser
Baseball and Race
“The Negro Leagues” Jules Tygiel, OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 7 (Summer, 1992), pp. 24-27
Women and Sports in Late-20th Century (Essay due in class)