Communication and Culture | Topics in Media, Culture, and Society (Topic: Sports and Media)
C204 | 10066 | Malitsky, J.

TuTh, 5:45 PM-7:00 PM, WY 005

Fulfills College S&H Requirement
Fulfills GedEd S&H Requirement

Instructor: Josh Malitsky
Office: C2 217
Phone: 856-0405

From the annual Super Bowl to youth soccer, sports pervade our
national and global cultures.  Sports pervasiveness, however, is
riddled with sticky theoretical and political problems.  On the one
hand, sports compose a social and cultural equalizer with the
potential to negotiate difference.  Like the weather, sports provide
common ground for those who may share few other similarities.  On
the other hand, sports serve to construct and reinforce the very
social and cultural differences they so effectively transcend.
Perhaps more explicitly than any other popular cultural realm,
sports shape, illustrate, and buttress expectations for how people
ought to conduct themselves depending on their racial, class,
gender, sexual, and national identities.

Furthermore, sports’ meanings cannot be divorced from their mediated
representation.  In fact, sports are most commonly experienced and
consumed through some form of media.  Rather than merely “showing”
us sports and sporting events, media create many of the values,
ideas, feelings, and problems commonly connected to sports.  Media
also compose a primary means through which sports are commodified
and used as vehicles for advertising.  Sports cannot be properly
understood, then, without taking into account their complex
relationship to media—from early 20th century newsreels to
contemporary fantasy sports.

Despite sports media’s profound importance in contemporary culture,
this incredibly powerful and diverse institution is seldom studied
in the humanities.  Focusing primarily on an American context, this
course will investigate the varied meanings attached to sports;
examine the manner in which different sports media create and
negotiate these cultural meanings; and probe sports media’s
historical, institutional, political, economic, and aesthetic uses
and implications.