Friday, May 8, 2009

Fall 2009: Perspectives on Sports in 20th Century Culture

INTL I 300: Topic: Perspectives on Sports in 20th Century Global Culture

In less than a hundred years sports has become an essential, indeed dominating part of our culture. It is a global joy, a global medium of communication, a source of national identity and sometimes international tensions – not the least a global business. What are we to think of the astonishing rise of sports? How is it to be explained and evaluated?

By focusing on four world events in 20th century sports culture – the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the Heavyweight Championship Fight Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman in Kinshasa 1974, the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we will investigate the multiple functions that sports fulfills in our globalized society.

The course is interdisciplinary in design, using contemporary texts from the fields of sociology, history, political science, media studies, philosophy and the arts.
The task of the participants is to create their own understanding of a phenomenon that is, for billions of people, one of the greatest pleasures in their life, for many others, however, nothing but “fascism in shorts”. Concretely, students will use different analytical perspectives to think about global sports, such as the perspective of a sociologist, a journalist and a political activist. We will practice these critical perspectives by writing texts in different genres, such as a commentary, a scholarly article and a political speech.
We use a combination of documentary films, discussions and close readings to accomplish our objectives. Students are expected to complete discussion worksheets prior to class and then participate in class discussions. Furthermore, students will be required to write four response papers, each 2-3 pages long, as well as a final research paper (8-10 pages).

11337 09:30A-10:45A MW TE F258 Eilenberger W