The Culture of Sports

Tom McLaughlin
Day/Time Taught: 
MW 5:00-6:15
Course Number: 

Sports play an important role in American society. They are central to the experience of many young people, they are part of our educational system, they provide a sense of civic identity, and they teach important values and lessons. They can also be corrupt, brutal, racist, sexist, and homophobic. But despite their social and economic importance and their cultural complexity, they receive too little academic attention, perhaps because they are too popular to seem worthy of serious analysis. This course is part of an interdisciplinary movement called “sports studies” that aims to bring a critical and analytical point of view to the study of sports. In particular, this course will examine sports as “cultural practices,” as activities that have powerful effects on the identities of players and fans. Each sport creates its own culture, encouraging a particular set of values and ethical practices, ways of thinking and feeling, ways of moving the body, ways of interacting with others, and ways of forming communities around a shared practice. It’s a cliché to say that “sports build character,” but it’s true, for better or for worse. People who play sports seriously are engaged in a social and cultural practice that helps to shape their identity as an individual.

Transfer students?: 

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

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