FT 010-N The Culture of Sports in America
Professor Michele Pittard, Department of Teacher Education, 9:45 TTh
In a society whose national, state, and community pride often comes from the success of our athletic teams, whose national history is largely based on the American competitive spirit, and who often considers athletes to be national heroes vying for the limelight with our most (in)famous celebrities, this class will examine the positive and negative ways in which sports shape American culture and national identity. What impact do sports have on our cultural values? What part do sports play in our K-16 educational system? What about the economics of sports, from youth athletics, to the college scene to the professional realm, what are the economical consequences and implications as a result of the dominant role sports have in our society? These and other questions will be considered as students and professor collaborate to examine the ways in which our culture is shaped by sports. In addition to having opportunities to write for a variety of purposes and audiences and relying on rich class discussions related to a wide range of texts, the class will also take advantage of small group work, guest speakers, and films as we pursue this topic together. The class will help students improve their written and oral communication skills as they begin to question and critically examine the complex and sometimes precarious position athletics hold in American society. Although a number of course readings will be determined by students’ inquiry topics, the class will use a variety of texts from the popular press, as well as from professional and academic research.