Friday, November 8, 2013

University of Colorado Course: Communication, Sport & Society

As part of an emerging undergraduate Certificate in Critical Sports Studies there are a set of new and interesting course offerings here at the University of Colorado. COMM 3000 -- Communication, Sport & Society will be offered in the summer term 2014 by Jamie Skerski of the Communication Department.

Here is the course description:
COMM 3000:  Communication, Sport & Society

How and when did “play” become such a serious, high-stakes endeavor?  How does being a “fan” at a ball game collapse otherwise divisive economic class distinctions? Why are male athletes often referred to by last name, but female athletes by first name? Why does the NFL “go pink” every October and what are the implications?  How does the concept of “free agency” impact “community” for both fans and players? What metaphors shape the way we perceive different sports and their cultural value?  What can we learn about larger social relations from studying sport?

This course examines the communicative, historical and cultural aspects of “sport” in contemporary American society.  Thinking critically about sport as a social institution, our readings and discussions will explore the intersections of power, gender/sexuality, race and ethnicity, class and national identity.

Scholars from communication, anthropology, sociology among others agree that public narratives about sports are symptomatic of larger social issues, including racial tensions, gender inequities and labor disputes.  The goal of the course is to facilitate critical thinking about sport as a site of cultural production.  Students will be prompted to make connections between the discourses of sport and other arenas of public life as well as their own life experiences.  As such, student learning objectives include:
  • Theorizing the differences between “play,” “games” and “sport”
  • Understanding the political economy of professional sports, both nationally and internationally
  • Recognizing the gendered discourse embedded in sports culture and its implications
  • Identifying the racial/ethnic/class implications of professional “scouting” and “farming” players
  • Making connections between the cultural norms of sport and dominant ideologies


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