Football and Higher Education
Football originated on American campuses, and its 150-year history reflects the vibrant, uneasy relation between sports and higher education. The first "big time" college sport, football became a media spectacle in the 1890s, and since then critics have debated the game's violence, educational merits, commercial trappings, and bearing on college admissions policies. The course will move from the 19th century to the present, tracing the sport's cultural meanings, its relation to class identity and gender roles, and its educational mission, including the sport's regulation by the NCAA. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to these issues, and readings will include literary and secondary works by William Bowen, Robert Lipsyte, Michael Oriard, and Murray Sperber.