This class explores relationship between sport and society. It examines the emergence of modern sports in the United States and asks you to trace these historical developments to our contemporary sports landscape. The “sports and the U.S.” portion of our title points to an important class theme: in order to fully understand the historical development of sports in the United States we must take an international outlook. The assignments will ask you to grapple with four key concepts: space, race, gender, and money.

Class Goals

  • Understand the history of modern sports in the United States
  • Articulate how wider transformations in space, race, gender, and money affected the development of sport
  • Make arguments that showcase historical thinking in understanding issues in sports today
  • Record an oral history that brings the lessons you’ve learned about sport and society into conversation with somebody 50+ years old

Assignments and Assessment

You’ll complete four kinds of assignments: quizzes, writing prompts, a film review, and a final project focused on an interview. Details on these assignments are linked from the schedule page or can be found grouped on the assignments page.

Breakdown of grades:

  • 15% Quizzes
  • 15% Film Review
  • 50% Weekly Writing
  • 20% Final project

Grading Scale:

  • 4.0 92-100%
  • 3.5 86-91
  • 3.0 80-85
  • 2.5 74-79
  • 2.0 68-73
  • 1.5 62-67
  • 1.0 57-61
  • 0.0 0-56

Academic Integrity

If you plagiarize, you will fail this course. Do not attempt to pass off another person’s work as your own. In accordance with Michigan State University’s policies on “Protection of Scholarship and Grades” and “Integrity of Scholarship and Grades,” students are expected to honor principles of truth and honesty in their academic work. Academic integrity means, amongst other things, not plagiarizing. Plagiarism includes submitting someone else’s work (words, ideas, etc.) as their own or knowingly permitting another student to copy and submit their work. Additional discussion of academic integrity is available on the Ombudsman’s website.

Students with Disabilities

Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

(No) Assigned Books

This class doesn’t have assigned textbooks (which is good because it means you don’t have to go out and buy anything).  However, the class has a lot of online readings (either in the form of online articles or downloadable PDFs).  It is extremely important to remember that all readings are mandatory for the class.  If you don’t keep up with your readings, you won’t do well in the course.

Due Dates

Due dates are not negotiable. All assignments are to be submitted on their specific due date (refer to weekly schedule for exact due dates) If you know ahead of time that you are going to be away from a computer with an assignment is due, it is your responsibility to submit it before the due date if you don’t want to be penalized.

Only under extreme (and documentable) circumstances will students be allowed to submit assignments after the due date without being penalized.