Course Description

Course Name

Topics in Media Studies: Media, Sports, and Society

Session: VPGS1324

Hours & Credits

6 ECTS Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


1.    Course Description
Sports is a major site of cultural and economic activity in contemporary society. This course will study the development of sports since the 19th century in relation to shifting media dynamics from the dominance of print media to the rise of digital media technologies, including social media. Focus will be on the intersection of sports with issues of race and gender, both in contemporary and historical contexts. Sports and politics will be covered in relation to concepts of nationalism in West Germany and the U.S. Civil Rights movement. 

2.    Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

1)    Investigate sports as a site of cultural production
2)    Analyze the history of sports media and journalism 
3)    Discuss the overlap between sports media and the business of sport 
4)    Analyze how sports intersects with issues of race and gender 
5)    Apply media theoretical concepts to an array of media texts 
6)    Give oral presentations on issues related to the course topic 
7)    Read and understand complex scholarly arguments 
8)    Write persuasive essays related to the course topic

3.    Reading Material
All readings will be available through NEO as PDFs 
Required Materials 
●    Yago Colás, “Getting Free: The Arts and Politics of Basketball Modernity”
●    Gerald Early, A Level Playing Field (selections)
●    Harry Edwards, The Revolt of the Black Athlete (selections) 
●    Allen Guttmann, “Civilized Mayhem: Origins and Early Development of American Football” 
●    Taylor Henry and Thomas P. Oates. "“Sport is Argument”: Polarization, Racial Tension, and the Televised Sport Debate Format." 
●    Charlotte Howell, “A Touch More with Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird: Authenticity, Intimacy and Women’s Sports Celebrity on Instagram Live" 
●    Douglas Kellner, “The Sports Spectacle, Michael Jordan, and Nike”
●    Alan McDougall, "‘ Das Spiel Ist Aus!’: Football and History in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s BRD Trilogy." 
●    Eileen Narcotta-Welp, “She’s the Man: Michelle Akers ‘unruly’ Game and the ‘potentiality’ of Queer Failure in the Early Development of the U.S. women’s National Soccer Team”
●    Jack Olsen, “In an Alien World” 
●    Roberta Park, “Contesting the Norm: Women and Professional Sports in Late Nineteenth-Century America” 
●    Jaime Schultz, “Reading the Catsuit: Serena Williams and the Production of Blackness at the 2002 U.S. Open”  
●    Jaime Schultz, “Going the Distance: The Road to the 1984 Olympic Women's Marathon” 
●    Orin Starn, The Passion of Tiger Woods (selections) 
Recommended Materials
●    Chris Brickell, “Performativity or Performance? Clarifications in the Sociology of Gender”
●    Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (selections) 
●    Delia Douglas, “Venus, Serena, and the Inconspicuous Consumption of Blackness: A Commentary on Surveillance, Race Talk, and New Racism(s)” 
●    Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (selections) 
●    Aram Goudsouzian, “Wilma Rudolph: Running for Freedom”
●    Stuart Hall, “What is this ‘Black’ in Black Popular Culture” 
●    Stuart Hall, “The Work of Representation”  
●    Rita Liberti and Maureen Smith, (Re)Presenting Wilma Rudolph (selections)
●    Lori Latrice Martin, “Double Fault: Serena Williams and Tennis at the Intersection of Race and Gender”
●    Clay Motley, "Fighting for Manhood: Rocky and Turn-of-the-Century Antimodernism"
●    Katrina Marie Overby, “Red Bottoms, Gold, and Ass: The Werk of Serena Williams on the Cover of Harper’s Bazaar”    
●    James Peterson, “A ‘Race’ For Equality: Print Media Coverage of the 1968 Olympic Protest by Tommie Smith and John Carlos” 
●    Nancy Spencer, “Sister Act VI: Venus and Serena Williams at Indian Wells: ‘Sincere Fictions’ and White Racism” 
●    Chloe Taylor, “Biopolitics” 

4.    Teaching methodology
This course will be taught as a seminar, centered on student participation in classroom discussion. Students will come to all sessions with the readings completed and ready to actively engage with each other. Discussions of texts and sources will be complemented with short lectures, in-class activities, group work, and student presentations.

*Course content subject to change