Sem: Sport & Film in American History

This course will investigate how a visual medium(film), subject to the conventions of drama and fiction and a popular activity/institution(sport), often associated with frivolity, violence, and puerility, might be used as serious vehicles for conceptualizing and analyzing the past. It will take advantage of the mass appeal of film and sport and consider the two in tandem and treat them as constructs of social relations. The course recognizes the need for history to compete with the popular media and culture for the attention of students and the larger public alike in the representation of the past. Rather than condemning these phenomena, the course will attempt to interrogate and appropriate them. The strategy is in part to entice students to confront historical issues by using the screen to evoke a sense of involvement in the past and to compare and contrast film representations to written treatments on the same subject. Even more the course seeks to address film on its own terms and avoid privileging one medium/discipline of expression over another. The same is true of sport, which is one of the richest and most valuable sites for exploring issues of gender, race/ethnicity, nationalism, etc. Yet it remains a subject that is understudied and undervalued by academics. Thus the course must ask: What happens to history when words are translated into images? What happens when images transcend the information that can be conveyed in words? Why do we always judge film by how it measures up to written history? In short, the very nature of the visual media forces us to reconceptualize and/or broaden what we mean by history. The study of sport forces us to reconsider the limits of appropriate intellectual subject matter. The course will combine film viewing and analysis with theoretical and content readings. Documentary, historical, and fictional film will be studied. Written texts from a variety of genres and disciplines will be taught.

This course investigates how a visual medium (film), subject to the conventions of drama and fiction and a popular activity/institution (sport), often associated with frivolity, violence, and puerility, might be used as serious vehicles for conceptualizing and analyzing the past.

Course Information

HIST-UA 698

Undergraduate

4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Fall 2017

1
Jeffrey Sammons
T: 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM KJCC BSMT