Communication and Culture | Current Topics in Communication and Culture (Topic: Watching Sports: Event, Performance, and Mediation)
C334 | 4115 | Vogan, T.

MTuWThF, 10:30 AM-11:20 AM, C2 203

Instructor: Travis Vogan

From video games to Viagra commercials, 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, and
sexual identities.  Consequently, sporting events, the identity
performances these events reinforce, and the manner in which popular
media outlets represent these events and performances can elucidate
some of the most difficult and urgent questions within contemporary
cultural theory, popular culture studies, and media studies.

Focusing specifically on an American context, this course will
combine theoretical and sports-oriented readings to discuss the
myriad roles sports play in American culture, their capacity to
influence identity performances, and how sports are commonly
represented and consumed—from live events viewed in a stadium to
fantasy sports.  In doing this, we will examine how sports, as
cultural texts, help us to grapple with the intersections among
identity, politics, mediation, and culture.

Assignments will include 2 essays, 2 quizzes, a final exam, and
weekly contributions to a class blog.

Preview the course blog at:

*No prerequisites are needed to take this course*